FWC Division of Law Enforcement K9s Bust Red Snapper Smugglers, See Weekly Cases In Brevard County
By Space Coast Daily // March 10, 2023
FWC OFFICERS NAIL FISH POACHERS, issue federal citation for red snapper violations
FWC –Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said its officers work with NOAA or other agencies to conduct fisheries inspections as vessels return to shore.
In a recent case, the humans also had help from FWC K-9 Havoc and Duke. They followed their noses to a sneaky snapper hidey hole in a vessel’s bow.
There, FWC officers uncovered 36 out-of-season red snapper, 20 of which were undersized, two out-of-season and undersized greater amberjack, over the bag limit of red grouper, undersized red grouper, and three undersized yellowtail snapper.
The vessel’s operator was issued six misdemeanor citations and arrested for the fisheries violations.
In Brevard County, while conducting resource inspections in Port Canaveral, Officer Specialist Balgo observed and addressed several violations:
• While inspecting one vessel, he located an undersized cobia. The owner of the vessel was cited accordingly.
• While conducting a resource inspection, he located three out of season red snapper inside a cooler. The individual’s information was passed along to NOAA for further action.
• While inspecting another vessel, he located two undersized cobia inside a compartment. The individual was cited accordingly.
■ Officer Snyder received information from Officer Specialist Balgo regarding an individual keeping redfish at Pine Island. Officer Snyder located an individual matching the description and observed a redfish in his cooler. The individual was cited accordingly.
■ Officer Specialist Hallsten was conducting water patrol near Port Canaveral when he observed a fishing vessel returning from sea. A fisheries inspection was conducted, and it was discovered the subject had been commercial diving for lobster and did not display his commercial dive number on the vessel. The subject had previously been warned for the same violation by Officer Hallsten. A citation was issued accordingly.
■ Officer Specialists Balgo and Hallsten were conducting water patrol near Port Canaveral when they observed a fishing vessel returning from sea. The subjects on the vessel stated they had one red snapper and some bonito and that those were the only fish on the vessel. The officers followed a trail of blood and slime to a storage hatch and found three undersized cobia. Charges include undersized red snapper, undersized cobia, over the vessel limit of cobia, and interference with an FWC officer.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin and Officer St. Martin were conducting an offshore fisheries patrol outside of Sebastian Inlet and did a resource inspection on a fishing vessel returning to shore. The subject onboard stated he had caught only lane snapper during his trip. The subject then opened his cooler revealing the lane snapper to the officers but quickly shut it. Officers St. Martin and Marroquin noticed this behavior and upon closer inspection, they discovered several bags of cobia fillets underneath the ice in the cooler. The subject was cited accordingly.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin and Officer St. Martin were on water patrol when they noticed a fishing vessel leaving a popular snook fishing spot. The officers conducted a resource inspection, which revealed the subject was in possession of an over-slot snook. The subject was cited accordingly.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin and Officer St. Martin were on offshore fisheries patrol at a local reef known for cobia fishing. As they approached the reef, they observed a group of anglers quickly packing up their gear. After noticing this behavior, they conducted a resource inspection and found the subjects to be in possession of over three times their legal bag limit of cobia, one of which was undersized. The subjects were cited accordingly.
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