Three fishermen from Copper Bank Village, Corozal District were intercepted with illegal conch one day before opening of the season. The fishermen were caught north of the Blue Hole around Lighthouse Reef. Conservation Compliance Unit Supervisor at the Fisheries Department, Hampton Gamboa spoke on the incident.
“Joint patrol between the Belize Audubon Society out at Lighthouse Reef Fisheries Department and the Belize Coast Guard came across this catch about 2pm at LightHouse reef on the 30th of September. We were just doing routine patrol and fishers were engaged in extraction of conchs before the opening of the season. What happened upon the fisher’s seeing us they basically tried to throw away the product from the boat. Fortunately we were able retrieve these products. At present after coming across the fisher’s who had these products the tally total was 445 individual conch which all three persons will be charged for. Fishers are well aware of the opening and close season, most of these people who engage in commercial fishing are above 18 and most of these guys who we caught through this they have been fishing an average of 10 years so they are aware of the opening and closing of conch season.”
The fishermen are facing fines of around thirteen thousand dollars.