Sunday, July 14, 2024

Two islanders charged for possession of protected Nurse shark and out of season Conch and Lobster

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On Wednesday, May 13th, two fishermen from the San Mateo Subdivision, Angel Alfonso Diaz and Ledvin Ixpatac, were slapped with seven different charges after they were detained with out-of-season conch, lobster and a Nurse shark, which is a protected species in Belize. The pair were arraigned at the San Pedro Magistrate Court and fined a total of $5,505 for the charges of Possession of out-of-season and undersize Conch, out-of-season and undersized Lobster, Possession of a Nurse Shark, Not being the holder of a fisherfolk license, and Obstruction.

Diaz and Ixpatac were detained by Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s Quick Response Team (QRT) on Monday, May 11th north of San Pedro Town. According to an official report, around 1:08PM, Hol Chan received a report of ‘someone cleaning a nurse shark at a dock north of San Pedro’. Its QRT team was quickly dispatched and the two individuals were intercepted at the dock. According to the report, the fishermen attempted to dispose of the Nurse shark remains but were caught in the act, and the product was retrieved. A thorough search was done on the scene and the team made a discovery of out of season conch and lobster. Diaz and Ixpatac were detained and escorted to the San Pedro Police Station.

The San Pedro Sun was informed that the accused were released and given a period of time before they start payment of the fines. Failure to make payments will result in imprisonment at the Belize Central Prison.

Nurse Sharks are a protected species in Belize
The public is reminded that Nurse sharks are fully protected under Fisheries Law. It is an offense and illegal to kill a Nurse shark in Belize. Authorities are requesting the public to report anyone seen killing or in possession of Nurse sharks, along with conch and lobster during the closed fishing season. Reports can be made to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Office at 226-2247 or to the Fisheries Department at 224-4552.

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