Thursday, April 23 2015. Aaron Humes Reporting: Belize is currently in closed season for lobster but the lure of a quick buck is irresistible for some and today it cost two fishermen more than $1,500 in fines.
45 year old Keith Barrow and 18 year old Jim Ramirez pleaded guilty to illegal possession of lobster during the closed season, engaging in commercial fishing without holding a valid license and using a vessel for commercial fishing without a valid boat license.
On April 10, 2015 around 3:30 in the afternoon, Fisheries Department officers on patrol near Caye Chapel saw three men in a vessel identified as Darcia. The boat sped off as the officers approached and they gave chase. One of the men aboard jumped into the sea and escaped but the others, identified as Barrow and Ramirez, were apprehended.
A search uncovered three lobster tails caught out of season and neither man could produce a fisherman’s license or an updated license for the vessel which had expired. According to Barrow, they fled because they feared they would be killed at sea, which was the fate of several past crew members. While they are alive, they must each pay fines of $500 for the lobster plus $20 per tail, for a total of $620, plus $100 each for the other offences by Magistrate Herbert Panton.
They must pay all fines by June 30 for the lobster-related offences and July 31 for the others, in default 6 months’ imprisonment.
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