FWC Officers Bust Tortoise Poacher, Issue Criminal Citation To Shrimp Boat Captains In Brevard County
By Space Coast Daily // December 8, 2016
FWC DIVISION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT REPORT
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – While on patrol on board the offshore patrol vessel Sea Hawk, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers Luce, Bohne and Eller located two commercial shrimp boats trawling in state waters at night offshore of Brevard County.
The officers boarded the vessels and issued criminal citations to the vessel captains. It is illegal for commercial shrimp boats to pull their nets in state waters at night along the east coast during this time of year.
FWC OFFICERS BUST TORTOISE POACHER
The Florida Highway Patrol requested assistance in conducting a traffic stop on a vehicle in reference to a domestic battery. Investigator Horst responded to the area to provide assistance. Brevard County Sheriff’s deputies and FHP troopers were able to get the vehicle stopped, but were notified by the female victim that a gopher tortoise was in the vehicle.
Investigator Horst arrived on scene and interviewed the male and female subjects in the vehicle. The investigation determined that the subjects had passed through Archbold Biological Station and observed a tortoise on the side of the road. The male subject decided they would take the tortoise home and eat it.
The male subject later broke off the radio transmitter device used to track animals’ movements. The tortoise that was taken was part of an ongoing 49-year gopher tortoise study.
The tortoise has been a part of the study for over 30 years and is frequently used in educational outreach programs at Archbold.
Investigator Horst seized the tortoise and worked with biologists from FWC and Archbold to arrange returning the tortoise unharmed to Archbold. The male subject was charged with possession of an endangered/threatened species and criminal mischief under $200. FHP investigated the domestic dispute.
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