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Guatemalan fishermen arrested for illegal fishing in southern Belize

Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2018. 8:46 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Yesterday, park rangers of the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) along with personnel of the Belize Coast Guard arrested two Guatemalans who were fishing illegally near the Rio Grande in southern Belize.

The fishermen tried to escape, but the patrol team was equipped and quickly apprehended them.

The two fishers had no documents for fishing in Belize and fished with illegal fishing gear within the marine reserve (over 2 miles of long lines with 400 hooks in water and additional long lines with 413 hooks in their possession.)

The men were arraigned in the Punta Gorda Town Magistrate’s court and were charged and fined for ‘use of long lines within Port Honduras Marine Reserve’ – $1500 plus $5 court fee; ‘using a vessel without distinguishing marks’ – $1000 per person plus $5 court fee; ‘fishing without fisher-folk license’ – $500 each plus $5 court fee; ‘no boat license’ – $500 each plus $5 court fee.

The total charges amount to $3,520 per person and $7,040 jointly.  Failure to pay may result in 2 years imprisonment

The fishing vessel and all equipment on vessel were forfeited.

The Belize Immigration Department is also expected to bring charges against the men later this week.

As a co-manager of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve with the Belize Fisheries Department, TIDE reminds all fishers to adhere to the Belize fishing regulations and to be stewards of our marine resources.

TIDE also commends its marine park rangers and the Belize Coast Guard for being vigilant and brave in protecting Belize’s marine resources for current and future generations.

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