Park Rangers of the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) along with personnel of the Belize Coast Guard arrested two Guatemalans who were fishing illegally near the Rio Grande in Southern Belize. The fishermen tried to escape, but the patrol team was equipped and motivated to apprehend them. The two fishers had no documents for fishing in Belize and fished with illegal fishing gear with the marine reserve (over 2 miles of long lines with 400 hooks in water and additional long lines with 413 hooks in their possession).
On Tuesday, January 30, 2018, the men were arraigned in the Punta Gorda Town Magistrate’s Court and were read the following charges and fines:
1. Use of long lines within Port Honduras Marine Reserve - $1,500 - plus $5 Court Fee
2. Vessel without distinguishing marks - $1,000 per person - plus $5 Court Fee
3. Fishing without fisher-folk license - $500 per person - plus $5 Court Fee
4. No boat license - $500 per person - plus $5 Court Fee
Total charges per person: $3,520.00
Joint charges: $7040.00
Failure to pay results in two (2) years imprisonment
The fishing vessel and all equipment on vessel was forfeited. There are also immigration offenses that the Belize Immigration Dept. is expected to pursue later this week.
As a co-manager of the Port Honduras Marine Reserve with the Belize Fisheries Department, TIDE reminds all fishers to adhere to the Belize fishing regulations and to be stewards of our marine resources. TIDE also commends its marine park rangers and the Belize Coast Guard for being vigilant and brave in protecting Belize’s marine resources for current and future generations.