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Aug 30, 2006

Forestry says crocodile fishing is illegal

Story PictureFollowing our story on “crocodile fishing” in San Pedro on Tuesday, several island residents have expressed serious concerns about the safety of the practice. When we contacted the Forestry Department about the hazards and legality of the tourist attraction, Forest Officer in charge of Wildlife, George Hanson told us that this type of activity is in fact illegal and considered harassment and molestation of the animal. According to Hanson, this sort of interaction can lead to the spread of communicable diseases and more disturbingly, can cause the reptile to become dependent on humans, especially if they are being fed as the animals quickly associate people with food, making it extremely dangerous for residents and their pets living near their habitat. Violators of the law can face up to six months imprisonment or a fine of a thousand dollars, but no one has ever been charged with that offence. We understand that plans are already underway with the San Pedro Town Board to designate a specific area where the already dependent crocs can be housed and fed as an official tourist attraction with appropriate security. In the meantime, department representatives will be visiting San Pedro to properly assess and monitor the situation. The American Saltwater Crocodiles featured in our story are considered endangered.

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