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Mar 28, 2017

Fisheries Department and Others Raid Lighthouse Reef for Violators

The Fisheries Department is tightening up on persons who violate fisheries regulations. A group of fishermen from Ranchito, Copper Bank and San Joaquin villages up north were taken to court this morning for possession of undersized conch found in their possession. Their arraignment lasted two hours and they all took a guilty plea before Magistrate Norman Rodriguez.  They were busted in an operation conducted by the Fisheries Department at Lighthouse Reef which yielded one thousand one hundred and sixty-two undersized conch found in separate vessels. The group includes Eder Patt, Nagiel Baptist, Fidel Roberto Chulin, Hipolito Goroscia, Melvin Marquez, Roberto De La Cruz, Alvaro De la Cruz and Jose Monzon.  The fines were steep and Magistrate Rodriguez did not hesitate to order the fishermen to make some form of payment towards their bill before leaving the court. Patt was fined the highest amount; a total of four thousand five hundred and forty dollars for two hundred and twenty-seven conch. The bust was as a result of a joint operation between the Belize Fisheries Department, the Belize Audubon Society and the Eastern Division North Strike Team on Lighthouse Reef. The three-day operation included conducting checks of all fishing boats on the atoll. Fisheries Officer Hampton Gamboa explains.


Hampton Gamboa

Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Officer

“These individuals who were arrested were for various quantities of possession of illegal products. They were basically, approximately twenty individuals arrested during this three-day operation. There was a total of four hundred and ninety-three fish fillet without skin parch that was confiscated. In addition there were two thousand one hundred and eight market cleaned conch. Also in addition there was one thousand and eight unprocessed conch, meaning conch that was just extracted from out of the shell. All these were weighed and processed in front of the individuals who were brought in and they will be taken to court throughout this week starting in the morning to Thursday. During this time, we are expected to fine and lay penalties on approximately twenty-one fishermen who were all arrested during this operation. This operation was a joint operation that was facilitated by the Belize Fisheries Department and the Belize Audubon Society through logistics provided by both entities. The police department also joined us on this operation and we are grateful for these two new additional entities who have assisted us. A lot of this operation was targeted based on information from fishers who called in, who came in, and made reports of these types of illegal activities occurring.”


According to Gamboa, throughout the entire year, the department will be conducting joint operations with MIT, Interpol, the Police Department and other agencies as it relates to any form of illegal fishery product throughout the country.

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2 Responses for “Fisheries Department and Others Raid Lighthouse Reef for Violators”

  1. Mike G says:

    Now this is what I’m talking about! These guys did their jobs properly and made a major natural resource conservation bust. Congratulations to all members of the team. See what can happen when the NGO/private sector backs up our enforcement agencies. Now we need persistence with this enforcement push.

  2. aldo says:

    about damn time to get to do what we pay them to do.

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