Eight fishermen charged for possession of out of season lobster and conch; one remanded while others met bail

Sunday, June 28th, 2020


The lobster season officially opened on June 15th, but a few days before this date, some fishermen were caught with out of season products (lobster and conch) within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (HCMR). This was the result of increased enforcement efforts by HCMR between June 13th and 15th, leading to the successful prosecution of eight fishermen. They were charged and fined for possession of lobster during the closed season, possession of conch during the closed season, possession of undersized lobster, possession of lobster with spawn, possession of soft shell lobster, possession of lobster with berries removed, fishing within a conservation zone, engaging in spearfishing within the Reserve and fishing without a valid fishing license. The total amount in fines amounted to $13,180 BZ, and one fisherman of Guatemalan nationality was remanded while the others met bail.
Armando Rivas of Guatemala is expected to serve three months at the Belize Central Prison before being deported. He was charged for:
– Possession of out of season lobster
– Possession of undersized lobster
– Possession of out of season conch
– Possession of undersized conch
– Engaged in fishing while not being the holder of a fisherman license
According to information from HCMR, the other fishermen met bail after been charged and fined for several offenses.
Javier Gongora was charged for:
– Possession of out of season conch
– Obstruction
Fined: $2,410

Christopher Salas, Omar Rodas, and Rodney August
Charged for:
– Possession of undersized lobster
– Possession of soft shell lobster
– Spearfishing within a marine reserve
– Fishing in conservation zone A of HCMR
– Fishing without a valid fishing license
Fined: $4,870
Ernesto Bernardez
– Possession of undersized lobster
– Possession of soft shell lobster
– Possession of lobster with spawn
Fined: $2,890.00

Domingo Chen and Reynaldo Chen
– Spearfishing within a marine reserve
– Fishing without a valid fisherman license
– Possession of soft shell lobster
– Possession of undersized lobster
– Possession of lobster with spawn
– Possession of lobster that had berries removed
Fined: $3,010

The accused were given until December 31, 2020, to pay fines in full. Failure to do so will result in imprisonment at the Belize Central Prison.


 

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