- Florida, USA -
MyFWC Florida Fish and Wildlife wrote in a Facebook post that for months their officers noticed suspicious activity near Gandy Beach in Pinellas County.
The agency wrote that they also received anonymous tips through the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline regarding illegal fishing.
On Friday, July 31, officers and investigators from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Division of Law Enforcement Tampa Field Office concluded an investigation near Gandy Beach that resulted in the arrest of 30-year-old YUNIOR C. ROSALES MORALES and 34-year-old YANDI CONCEPCION (both pictured below), of Tampa.
The duo were arrested for the unlawful use of a monofilament entanglement net (gill net) to take several species of fish and a baby bottlenose dolphin.
The combined size of the three gill nets in possession of the suspects measured 3,125 square feet.
MORALES and CONCEPCION were booked into the Pinellas County Jail on the following charges:
· Felony - illegal use of gill net
· Felony - failure to transit gill net
· Felony - possession of gill net on vessel less than 22-foot
· Misdemeanor - stop netting
· Seven misdemeanors - snook out of season
· Seven misdemeanors - illegal method of take for snook
· Six misdemeanors - undersize snook
· Three misdemeanors - redfish out of season
· Misdemeanor - oversize redfish
· Misdemeanor - over the bag limit of bonnet head sharks
· Misdemeanor - illegal method of take for shark
· Misdemeanor - major violation pertaining to snook and redfish
The maximum penalty for each third-degree felony charge is five years imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine.
Each second-degree misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
As for the baby bottlenose dolphin killed by these cruel individuals, the FWC is working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on this finding.
Bottlenose dolphins are federally protected.
The gear and vessel used in the commission of these activities were seized by the FWC.
SW Regional Commander, Maj. Roger Young said: “The use of this type of fishing gear is not only illegal but it is harmful to fish and wildlife by indiscriminately killing much of the fish and wildlife that become entangled in it.”
Many thanks to those who submitted tips to the authorities allowing the arrest of these two sea life killers.