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Guatemalan fishermen charged for illegal fishing

Celia Mahung reporting…

On the weekend during a late night Patrol within the Port Honduras Marine Reserve the Tide Marine Rangers along with personnel of the Belize Coast Guard arrested two Guatemalans fishing illegally near the Rio Grande in southern Belize. The fisherman had no documents for fishing in Belize; were caught fishing using over two miles of long lines with four hundred hooks and had additional long lines with four hundred and thirteen hooks in their possession. Today the men were arraigned in the Punta Gorda Magistrate Court. Port Honduras Manager, Zane Zuniga, tells us of the charges.

Zane Zuniga – Port Honduras Manager

“The first charge use of long Lines within the Port Honduras Marine Reserve, the individuals were charged $1,500.00 each plus a court fee of $5.00. The second charge using a vessel without allotted distinguishing marks $1,000.00 each plus a court fee of $5.00. The third charge fishing without a valid fisherfolk license $500.00 plus a court fee of $5.00 and the last charge is using a boat without a boat license, they were charged $500.00 each plus a court fee of $5.00. The total charges amounted to $3,520.00 each and a grand total of $7,040.00. A failure to pay the fine results in two years imprisonment. Additionally to the charges, the fishing vessels and all equipment found on the fishing vessel was forfeited.

As Co-Manager of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve Tide reminds all fishers to adhere to the Belize Fishing Regulations and to be stewards of our national resources.

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