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Jul 5, 2019

Belizean Fishermen Busted with Serious Haul of Illegally Harvested Conch

Bartolo Jimenez

A pair of Belizean fishermen was busted in the southern waters off the coast of Placencia with a massive haul of out-of-season conch.  According to the Fisheries Department, a team of rangers was out on routine patrol near the southeast corner of Channel Caye when they encountered Bartolo Jimenez and another fisherman.  Upon closing in on their vessel, the men were seen tossing crocus sacks into the nearby water.  A total of eight hundred and seventy-four conchs were recovered, product that was believed to be headed for the Guatemalan and Honduran markets.  When the men appeared in court on Thursday, Jimenez was fined almost eighteen thousand dollars and his equipment, including his boat, were confiscated.  Fisheries officer Hampton Gamboa provided additional details.

 

Hampton Gamboa

Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Officer

“Yesterday in the court in Independence, in the afternoon yesterday, both persons were taken before the court whereby one person, Mr. Bartolo Jimenez pleaded guilty to the offense.  He was then charged and fined, he was fined five hundred dollars and then the court made a decision to penalize him at twenty dollars for each individual conch totaling seventeen thousand, four hundred and eighty dollars in fines and penalties.  All tackle gears were confiscated and the vessels were also confiscated by the Government of Belize, the property of the Government of Belize. The department has been doing a number of intelligence work over the past few weeks and months, especially since both conch season and lobster season were closed simultaneously, at once, especially for May, and then lobster didn’t open until June.  But we’ve been getting a lot of feedback from concerned fishers, I would want to say, as well as people who have observed what’s happening in our cross-border and these individuals who were arrested, I must say, are also a part of that clique or that connection that’s doing the cross-border illegal activities.”


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