FWC Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Highlights For Cases In Brevard County
By Tom Palermo // July 22, 2023
FWC OFFICERS NAIL POACHERS, IMPAIRED BOATER
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The following report highlights some cases the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handled in Brevard County over the past week but does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
■ During the federal two-day red snapper season, offshore patrol vessels ran several long-range patrols to ensure compliance with season regulations. As a result of the patrols, the following cases were made: seven federal citations issued to a vessel that began fishing and was in possession of six red snapper before the official start of the season; two federal citations for possession of four red drum in federal waters; one federal citation for an unlicensed charter operating without proper federal fishing permits.
■ Officer Specialists Balgo and Johnson, and Officer Hedgepeth were patrolling near Port Canaveral when they observed a vessel come from offshore. A resource inspection revealed the vessel to be in possession of over the bag limit of golden tilefish. The inspection was documented and shared with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
■ Officer Specialist Balgo observed a suspicious vehicle parked near State Road 401 and State Road 528. He located foot sign through the mangroves and observed several individuals working the shoreline with cast nets. Lieutenants Cybula and Lee assisted Officer Balgo with surveillance and conducted a resource inspection on the individuals once they returned to their vehicle. A large cooler and two bags of fish were located. Violations included possession of snook out of season, possession of oversized snook, illegal method of take of snook, possession of undersized permit, possession of undersized sheepshead, and several license violations. The individuals were cited accordingly.
■ Officer Snyder was conducting resource inspections at Freddie Patrick Boat Ramp on vessels returning during red snapper season. A vessel with two persons onboard was found to have four red snapper from federal waters, double the federal bag limit. They were cited accordingly.
■ While on patrol of T.M. Goodwin Public Small Game Hunting Area, Lieutenant Lightsey observed a van traveling in an area closed to motor vehicles. He met with the occupant to address the violation. It was determined the subject had entered by trespassing from an adjacent property. Additionally, the subject was found to be in possession of several gamefish (bluegill and crappie) taken by cast net, which is an illegal method. The subject also did not have a valid nonresident fishing license. Citations and warnings were issued for the offenses.
■ During red snapper season FWC Officers Delano, St. Martin and Hopkins, along with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Officer Carrodeguas were on water patrol near Sebastian Inlet when they observed a recreational fishing vessel with bottom fishing gear returning from offshore. The officers stopped the vessel to conduct a resource inspection. The inspection concluded the captain and crew of the vessel caught over their legal bag limit of one red snapper per person, per day. The captain and crew were cited accordingly.
■ Officer Specialist Marroquin was docking his vessel at a local marina when he noticed another vessel operator enter the marina. The operator was having extreme difficulty docking his vessel and was exhibiting signs of impairment. Officer Marroquin approached the vessel operator after he was finally able to dock his vessel and immediately picked up on further indicators of impairment. The operator performed very poorly during standardized field sobriety tasks and was subsequently arrested. The operator later gave a sample of his breath that showed his blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit. The subject was transported to the Brevard County Jail and cited accordingly. .
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