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Jun 6, 2022

Huge Fisheries Busts at Lighthouse and Glovers Reef Atolls

 Fisheries enforcement officers made significant busts on Sunday in the vicinities of Lighthouse and Glovers Reef atolls.  Personnel from the Fisheries Department were on patrol in these locations when they came across several fishermen who were illegally harvesting various out-of-season and endangered species of conch and fish.  The men, including an individual who was fishing without a license, will be taken before the Magistrate’s Court in Belize City on Tuesday where they will face charges related to the seizure.


Hampton Gamboa

Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Enforcement Officer

“There were two operations, one yesterday afternoon and one last night.  The operation that went out at Lighthouse Reef about 3:40 in the afternoon, resulted in the searching of a vessel which was moored or anchored one mile southeast of Hat Caye on Lighthouse Reef Atoll.  There, officers engaged three fishermen who were on a vessel cleaning products.  Upon searching the vessel, they found a couple fin fish and some fillet which were legal in their icebox.  Upon a thorough searching of the vessel, lifting up of a plank inside the vessel, they discovered a white crocus sack filled with what appears to be fish fillets.  Officers opened the bag and they were primarily seventy-four spotlight fish fillet.  There were two other midnight parrot fish there.  In addition, there were twelve pieces of angel fish and eight pieces of ocean trigger fish, all of which are part of species protection under the new Fisheries Resource Act, Schedules Section 88.  Now under this section of our act, the fine is one thousand Belize dollars per piece.  Totalling in terms of these protected species, there was a hundred pieces of fish fillet from these three species that are protected.  So that‘s what these three individuals are going to face tomorrow morning when we take them to court.  They will be charged for possession of these.  In addition to that, there were sixty-eight pieces of fish fillet without skin patch.  Because those didn‘t have on skin patch those fall under another section of our law which the new fine which was just released earlier this year, of fifty to a hundred dollars per, that‘s for fisheries without skin patch.  So basically, that‘s the kind of fines these three individuals from Lighthouse Reef are looking at.  Now, the addition for Glovers Reef, those two individuals there, they are facing the fine of four different fisheries offenses that occurred: fishing inside a conservation zone.  Primarily, fishing inside a conservation zone is a minimum of five thousand dollars, because once any offense occurs within a marine protected area, the minimum fine is five thousand dollars.  Then, in addition to that, they were found with sixty-one undersized conchs in the shell and for that they will be fined up to a minimum of two thousand dollars once it‘s within the marine reserve.  Fishing inside a conservation zone, because it‘s a special use zone carries a heavier fine of five thousand [dollars] and then all the other offenses, the minimum, the fine is two thousand dollars and the penalties on the marine reserve go with the five, like in the case of the undersized conchs in the shell, those would be fifty dollars to a hundred Belize dollars per.”

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