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Trio Caught at Spawning Site with Nassau Grouper

Two Honduran nationals and a Belizean went to court today after they went fishing at a SPAG site at Glover’s Reef.  The men had no fisher folk license, no work permit, no seaworthy certificate and no license for the fishing vessel they were in.  Belize Coast Guard personnel approached the vessel and uncovered a Nassau Grouper and shark.  As we mentioned they were caught at a SPAG site which is a location for the spawning aggregation of the Nassau Grouper which has been protected via legislation passed by the Government of Belize geared at fully protecting eleven spawning sites.  Lara, Miranda, Vasquez - illegal fishing2The men, 48- year-old, Grevil Franklin Lara, 37-year-old, Miguel Angel Miranda and 34-year-old, Marco Antonio Castillo Vasquez were handed over to the Fisheries’ officials and then taken before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza where they pled guilty.  They were each fined two hundred and fifty dollars each plus cost of court with a deadline of April 8 to pay.  Default in payment will lead to two months imprisonment.  In addition to that fine, Miranda and Vasquez were also fined another two hundred and fifty dollars for engaging in illegal commercial fishing.  At the end of the hearing, Lara was free to go but Miranda and Vasquez were detained to face immigration charges.