Illegal conch busts made by Southern Environmental Association – fines levied over $20,000
Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
Press Release – Southern Environmental Association – April 2, 2013 – On February 26th, 2013, Southern Environmental Association (SEA) responded to reports of individuals in Placencia Village engaging in illegal fishing activities. This operation led to the discovery of two individuals in possession of NINE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN (911) undersized fillet conchs. These individuals were arrested, detained and charged for the offense committed. Both persons appeared in court on the 5th March to answer to these charges and were fined a total of $18,220.00 or one year in prison in default of payment.
The following day, SEA’s Special Enforcement Unit did a routine vessel check at the Independence Village dock side which led to the discovery of one individual in possession of NINETY SEVEN (97) undersized market clean conchs. He appeared in court on March 5th to answer to charges and was fined a total of $1,945.00 or six months in prison in default of payment.
With a new Executive Director Mrs. Nicole Auil Gomez, SEA works towards improving stewardship and the environmental integrity of key marine areas in southern Belize. SEA co-manages Laughing Bird National Park with the Forest Department, and Gladden Spit & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve with the Fisheries Department.
SEA reminds the public that the Belize Fisheries Regulations states that market clean conch must exceed 3oz, conch fillet must exceed 2.75oz, and conch shell size should be a minimum of 7 inches. These restrictions in size ensure that those captured and marketed conchs are not juveniles but rather sexually mature adults that are able to reproduce and help in propagating the species’ population. It is illegal to sell and/or buy diced conch as this does not allow for conch size to be determined. Conch season in Belize is closed from July 1st to September 30th of every year.
For more information, contact the Southern Environmental Association at 523-3377, see our website www.seabelize.org, and find us on Facebook.
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