During a routine patrol on July 29 the Royal Bahamas Defense Force, acting on information from local fishermen, apprehended foreign fishermen for fisheries violations in Bahamian waters.
Acting Sub-Lieutenant, James Cox of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force aboard the HMBSP-45 said “We were acting on a tip from local fishermen who informed us that they had spotted a boat that had been crawfishing for quite a while.”
The RBDF P-45 gave pursuit and intercepted the vessel just behind Scotland’s Cay. Sub-Lieutenant Cox said that during the chase the fishermen discarded much of their catch along with other unidentified items.
The RBDF boarded and searched the vessel and found crawfish on board. The fishermen’s fishing permit was inspected; the permit tells you what you can and cannot catch which they had signed indicating that they understood the terms. However, when questioned by the officers they claimed not to know.
We arrested them and alerted Fisheries Assistant Superintendent Carroll Laing and brought them back to Marsh Harbour for processing.
The captain, a 52 year old U.S. citizen from Florida, took full responsibility for the vessel and the infraction. The equipment was confiscated and they were found with crawfish aboard their boat.
According to the police report the suspect was found in possession of a number of crawfish tails, scale fish and fresh conchs. The suspect was granted cash bail and is set to appear in court on the 8th, August 2013.
There were four (4) other U.S. citizens aboard the vessel including tw0 17 year-old males and a 25 year-old male from Florida and a 55 year-old male from Kentucky.
Sub-Lieutenant Cox said “this is how we make arrests, with the help of the local fishermen. This is our national marine resource if we don’t protect it, who will?”
Mr. Laing said that at about 4pm he received a call from the HMBSP-45 that they had chased a boat and observed them throwing what appeared to be lobster overboard.
He said “the captain has decided to take full responsibility for everything. He indicated he has been coming here for twenty years and he knows the rules and regulations. He was cautioned and placed under arrest.”
Mr. Laing added that “we have asked visitors to read the back of the fishing permit that tells them what they can and cannot do, but unfortunately some people decide to just ignore. But our patrol boats are out there and we want the foreign nationals to know that we are out there and you won’t know when we are coming and if they are found to be in violation they will be arrested – there will be no breaks!”