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Apr 11, 2002

Green turtle released by fisheries

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Exactly one week ago, Fisheries officials busted a fisherman from Isabella Bank with several out of season hicatees. Well today, the News 5 crew was back at the Newtown Barracks after the officers caught a fisherman with the hicatee’s equally illegal seagoing cousin. Janelle Chanona reports.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting

This afternoon, officers from the Conservation Compliance Unit of the Fisheries Department on mobile patrol just off the Belize City coastline, found this green turtle bound for the fish market in. Because the season is closed, the boat was diverted to the Fisheries compound where officials carefully inspected the animal. According to fisheries inspectors, the fishermen found with the turtle will be summoned to court to face charges.

Errol Diaz, Fisheries Inspector

“The season for turtle is closed, so any person caught during the closed season would be charged for an offence of the sixty-six or seventy-seventh act of fisheries regulation. In act ten, it’s approximately a five hundred dollar fine, and basically it’s up to the judge.

In the surrounding area, especially the Vernon Street area, you have a lot of turtles being sold in and out of season. Some undersized, and right now it’s closed season. And do to the closed season, the C.C.U. was out enforcing the fisheries regulations and we’ve been stepping up measures in order to curb the appetite of some of these poachers.

We understand a lot of fishermen, some of them can’t read, can’t write, so they can’t say ignorance is any excuse for violations of the law. But if they continue to take these things, we won’t be able to reproduce our natural resources.”

Hopefully, this turtle will have that chance. And as a crowd of spectators watched, the turtle was released back into the sea, by the same men who had fished it out of the water hours before.

Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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