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Apr 26, 2002

Local and foreign fishermen busted on high seas

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Three fishermen from across the border are tonight in police custody after they were busted plying their trade in Belizean waters. The three Hondurans, identified as Marcus Castillo, Walter Perez and a sixteen year old minor, were intercepted by a Belizean patrol off the Dangriga shore this afternoon. According to Fisheries Inspector Errol Diaz, the men will face serious fines and their boat, engine and other equipment have been confiscated.

Errol Diaz, Fisheries Inspector

“They were anchored right off the reef by the Silk Caye area down south, Dangriga judicial district. The individuals had fish, ice, lines in the water and so forth, and our officers encountered them in the act. They were subsequently charged for engaging in commercial fishing without a valid licence and use of a boat without valid fisherman’s licence.”

Today, the fisheries inspectors scored another big catch after two hundred pounds of lobster, estimated to be worth several thousand dollars on the street, were found in the company of a group of Belizean fishermen. The men had apparently just hauled up the traps full of the delicacy when the officers pounced. The risk the fishermen took will now cost them in more ways than one.

Errol Diaz

“Cuurently the lobster season is closed. The regulations states that any person caught in contravention of section seven would be subsequently charged twenty to thirty dollars for each one, and then a penalty of five hundred dollars and a fine.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“What the quantity of lobster found?”

Errol Diaz

“Approximately two hundred and forty-eight lobsters, and it’s somewhere roughly around nine thousand dollars worth of fines.”

The names of the Belizean fishermen are not being released to the press because the authorities are still looking for other men that may be involved in the out of season raid. Fisheries Inspector Diaz is appealing to the public to inform the department of any illegal activities. Anonymous calls are accepted.

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