Four Belizean fisher folks were busted in the southern waters of Belize for having over 100 out of season lobster. According to the Fisheries Department, on Sunday officers were on patrol from Twin Cayes to Belize City when they spotted the vessel near the reef. The captain 31-year-old Derek Gorosica, and his crew members 27-year-old Paola Colman, 19-year-old Leon Joseph, and 20-year-old Kali Harb Blanco were arraigned in court today. According to Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Enforcement Officer, the vessel used by the fisher folks was also seized.
Hampton Gamboa, Fisheries Enforcement Officer: “Officers were on routine patrol from our marine reserve base in Twin Cayes South Water Caye Marine Reserve heading to Belize City along the reef when they came across a fishing vessel and apparently there were individuals in the water. An officer observed that, decided to come search the vessel, the vessel chose to speed off and throw one crocus sack over the side the vessel and they took off. Officers retrieved the bag continued to chase the vessel the vessel threw out another bag so there were two crocus sacks that officers had to retrieve. Fortunately we were able to catch up with them because of the vessel we were in. Upon coming across them there were four individuals three males and one female all who were in the water. All three individuals have been taken to court today to answer to charges of possession of lobsters during the close season – lobster season closed from the 15th of February until the 14th of June so they have been charged today for possession of lobster. They were all live lobsters totaling 132 lobsters so we made a request to the court in addition to the fines for the offence a possession of lobsters during the close season and we made a request to the court for seizure of the vessel which the court granted. It’s a 25 footer fiberglass vessel with a brand new 75 horsepower Yamaha engine on it.”
Gamboa noted that the captain of the fishing vessel, Derek Gorosica has been charged for prior offenses.
Hamptom Gamboa, Fisheries Enforcement Officer: “They are all Belizeans and unfortunately for them the captain of the vessel is a repeated offender and hence the reason why we decided to request through the court also for the confiscation of the vessel just to send home a message. They all have license hence the reason why – actually that’s the reason why we requested the boat, the boat itself hasn’t been licensed for this year as yet so then based on that also made us decide to ask for confiscation of the vessel.”
The Lobster season closes on February 15 and re-opens on June 14 the Fisheries Department reminds fishers that lobster traps should be removed from fishing grounds during the closed fishing season.