Marine Police net two alleged rogue fishermen

Published: Saturday | December 28, 2013 Comments 0

Two brothers are to face the Old Harbour Resident Magistrate's Court on January 9 for breaches of the Fishing Industry Act, including fishing in a special fishery conservation area.

Reports are that about 12:15 on the morning of December 14, a Marine Police team on patrol spotted Jai Blake, a 36-year-old fisherman from Old Harbour, St Catherine, and 34-year-old Nigel Blake fishing in an area known as Salt Island, which is part of the Salt Harbour Fish Sanctuary.

The men, who were operating a 28-foot fibre-glass vessel, were seen pulling fishing nets with fish trapped inside them and were in possession of an igloo which was found to contain fish, a police officer attached to the Old Harbour Marine Police told The Gleaner.

He explained that the team was initially drawn to the boat's presence in the area which is a no-fishing zone, the boundaries of which are clearly marked with red and white reflectors. Upon checking, the police found that while the boat had 'Sean K' written along the side, it did not have the requisite registration number.

NO LICENCE

In addition, neither of the brothers had a fishing licence or identification cards in their possession, which they are required by law to travel with when fishing. The men have since been bailed, but the boat, outboard engine, nets, igloo and other fishing equipment have been seized, pending the outcome of the case.

They are facing a range of charges, including fishing in an unregistered vessel, travelling without identification or licence, and fishing in a sanctuary.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Caribbean Coastal Area Management (C-CAM) Foundation, which has responsibility for monitoring the area, is praising the Marine Police for a job well done, describing the accused as repeat offenders who have been warned on many occasions for various breaches.

He explained that their capture was due to excellent team work between the Marine Police and C-CAM after it was determined that rogue fishermen were studying their patrol patterns and using this information to beat the system time and again. This despite the fact that the organisation has stepped up its monitoring and enforcement drive, in the process raising public awareness about the importance of the fish sanctuary.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com


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