Thursday, July 18, 2024

Six fishermen arraigned for violations in San Pedro

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Belize is rich in fisheries resources and supports the livelihoods of thousands across the country. However, these resources must be responsibly accessed, and to make sure the stock of marine products remains a healthy one; the government has created agencies to look after the wellbeing of the fisheries resources. In San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, along with fisheries and police officers, have been enforcing lobster, conch, and fishing regulations, to name a few. Many non-compliant fishermen have been detained, charged, and prosecuted at the San Pedro Magistrate Court for offenses. A recent incident saw six fisher-folks found guilty of breaking the law.
According to a report from Hol Chan Marine Reserve management, these cases resulted from patrols conducted by their enforcement and operations unit within and adjacent to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. These occurred during the months of June and July of this year.
The six fishermen found breaking the law were arraigned at the San Pedro Magistrate Court on August 5th. Christopher Dale Popovich was found guilty of Possession of diced conch without a special permit. He was also found with an undersized conch. Pedro Cho was found in Possession of lobster with spawn. The same charge was laid on Allister Brian Medwood in addition to being found without a valid fishing license. Herman Nathaniel Ramirez was also prosecuted for the Possession of lobster with spawn and fishing without a valid fishing license, and Oscar Adolfo Perez was found guilty of Possession of lobster with spawn. In contrast, Elmer David Castro was found in Possession of lobster with spawn and breached his license condition.
The management at Hol Chan said that other cases are still pending before the court. The institution took the opportunity to remind the general public that any offenses committed against the Fisheries laws can lead to prosecution. All persons on a fishing vessel engaged in commercial fishing must have a fisherfolk license, and the vessel must also be registered with the Fisheries Department. All marine
products caught must be within season and meet the legally required size limits as well.
Anyone who has any information on Fisheries Violations or other concerns can contact the Hol Chan offices at 226-2247 or via WhatsApp at 615-8673.

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