Poach tally ends at 55,000lb
A whopping 55,769.2 pounds of assorted seafood catch is the overall take poachers had stocked on board the two Dominican Republican industrial fishing boats intercepted by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard off the Pedro Banks on Saturday.
After three days of sorting, counting, measuring, and weighing by staff of the Fisheries Division in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the final tally is:
• 34,531.9lb of conch
• 10,285.4lb of lobster, inclusive of 60lb of berried (egg-bearing) and 332.5lb undersized.
• 10,347.4lb of assorted fin fish, including a 200lb blue marlin, the head of which weighed 17 pounds.
• 97.9lb of crab
• 61.6lb of octopus
• 445lb of a mixture of crab and fish.
Director of Fisheries Andre Kong described the catch as “small compared to what these guys usually have in their possession when we catch them”, and theorises that the poachers “had just come on to the banks” and had not been fishing for long when the Coast Guard intercepted them on Saturday morning. It was about 8:10 when the poachers were seen by the crew of the HMJS Middlesex, which was patrolling the area.
Kong expressed appreciation to the Coast Guard for its quick action in apprehending the poachers and securing the catch.
Meanwhile, prosecution proceedings against the 57 Dominicans gets under way in earnest today.
The local industry is projected to suffer significant fallout from the closed season on the harvesting of queen conch, which went into effect on March 1 and runs until January 31, 2020.