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Oct 22, 1998

Undersized conch confiscated

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The protection of Belize’s marine resources got a boost today with the arrest of three people caught red-handed with illegal sized conch in their possession. Responding to a tip, fisheries personnel launched an operation early this morning in the area of Glover’s Reef Atoll. Within a couple of hours, three fishermen and their illegal payload were in custody. Fisheries officer Troy Garcia was part of the operation.

Troy Garcia, Fisheries Inspector

“A search of the icebox revealed that they contained a quantity of undersized conch. Hence they were arrested and they were brought to the Fisheries Department where they will witness a weighing of the conch to see what all of the conch are undersized or legal sized.”

Q: “What’s the size that they are legally allowed to catch?”

Troy Garcia

“Presently the way the conch are at this moment they are said to be market clean. Whenever they are market cleaned their size should exceed three ounces. If they are in the shell the shell length should have been seven inches. So we will weigh each one of them and we will see if they exceed the three ounce weight limit.”

Q: “And if they don’t what will happen to the fishermen?”

Troy Garcia

“The ones that are below that 3 ounce weight limit will be counted in front of the fishermen. From there they will be formally charged for the number of undersized they have in their possession”

Q: “You caught three fishermen today, is it safe to assume that thirty might have gotten away from you?”

Troy Garcia

“The patrols have decreased over the past months but we would like to think that it’s not all the fishermen that are doing this sort of stuff. We don’t really want to say that thirty has got away.”

Those arrested and charged are: Robert Nuñez, Lennox Maximo and Luke Nuñez. All three are licensed fishermen from the village of Hopkins in the Stann Creek District.

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