This FWC Weekly Report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
The FWC Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Logo. Photo: myfwc.com
While fueling his patrol vehicle at a gas station, Officer Goodwin observed a vehicle towing a small vessel pull into the gas station parking lot. He noticed there was no vehicle tag on the trailer and the trailer lights were inoperable. When the vehicle pulled back onto the highway, Officer Goodwin followed the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop. There were numerous fishing rods visible in the vessel. The operator advised he knew there was no tag on the trailer. There were three subjects in the vehicle. Officer Goodwin asked if they had gone fishing and they stated “yes.” He asked the operator if he could see the fish. The operator stated “yes” and stepped out of the vehicle, walked back to the vessel and opened the cooler. Officer Goodwin could see two gag grouper in the cooler. Officer Goodwin then searched the cooler and found 12 red snapper, two of which were undersized, and two undersized grey triggerfish. The operator stated that all the illegal fish belonged to him. He was charged with over the daily bag limit of red snapper, possession of gag grouper out of season, undersized red snapper and undersized grey triggerfish.
Officer Waring was dispatched to a complaint regarding a theft that occurred at the Jetty Beach in St. Andrew State Park. The victim stated, while swimming, their personal contents in a beach bag were stolen which included their wallets, 11 different credit cards, military ID, driver’s license, house keys, $40 in cash, and a $1400 Canon camera. The victim provided the serial number of the stolen camera. Investigators Goss and Nelson conducted a covert investigation and received information from the victim that he saw his camera placed on Craigslist for sale. The victim identified key unique characteristics of the camera off the posted picture. The investigators were able to identify the individual who posted the camera on Craigslist. They set up a covert buy with the individual. After the transaction, Investigator Goss located the serial number of the camera and confirmed this was the stolen camera. Investigator Goss secured two felony warrants for the sale of stolen property via the internet and dealing in stolen property.
Officers Price, Brady, Wicker, and Hellett worked a detail monitoring fishing within the Madison Swanson, a Federal Marine Protected Area located 65 miles south of the Panama City Pass. One recreational vessel was found fishing in the middle of the closed area and the fishers admitted to knowing they may have been in a closed area. During the inspection, gag grouper filets were located as well as numerous legal marine fish. The captain was cited for fishing in the closed area and possession of the grouper filets while on the water.
During the past weeks, the FinCat and crew were offshore several times. During these patrols, the crew issued one federal citation and one state citation for over the bag limit of red snapper to different boat captains. Warnings were also issued for possession of greater amberjack and grey triggerfish during closed season. The FinCat also responded to a vessel in distress and taking on water 23 miles south of Orange Beach, Alabama, which was 20 miles west of the FinCat’s location. After a 30-minute run, the crew found the boat capsized and all persons accounted for on a Good Samaritan’s vessel.
Lieutenant Hahr was patrolling in the Perdido River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) when he observed a young man walk by holding a beer. It is unlawful to possess alcohol in this area. After stopping the man, it was also determined that he was under the legal drinking age of 21. The subject was arrested for possession of alcohol under 21 and warned for possessing the alcohol in a prohibited area.
Later that afternoon, Lieutenant Hahr observed several young adults tubing and drinking beer. He approached them and determined that one of them was only 20 years old. While talking to them, he discovered a box containing a glass drug pipe, a metal grinder, and a bag of fresh cannabis buds. He arrested one subject for possession of cannabis and drug paraphernalia and the other for possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21.
Officers Rockwell and White were offshore in the Gulf of Mexico conducting fishery inspections. After stopping a vessel, the inspection revealed that the occupants were over the bag limit of red snapper. The captain of the vessel was cited for the fishery violation.
Officer Arnette responded to a search and rescue on the Shoal River after receiving information about six subjects stranded after their canoes capsized at night. After the subjects were located, one of the female occupants was having labor pains. They were all safely transported back to the boat ramp to their vehicle. Okaloosa Fire and Rescue and Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department also responded and assisted with recovering the subjects.
The annual Billy Bowlegs Festival was worked by a multiple-agency detail made up of FWC officers, other law enforcement agencies, and EMS / fire rescue personnel. Several arrests were made. Eight subjects were arrested for BUI and five subjects were arrested for possession of controlled substance and disorderly conduct. There were 42 responses to calls for medical care. Two of those occurrences are detailed in the next two paragraphs.
While working the Billy Bowlegs event, Lieutenant Hahr and Officer Hutchinson smelled the odor of burning cannabis and determined that it could have come from only one vessel. They approached the vessel and conducted a boating safety inspection. During the check, one subject attempted to conceal what appeared to be contraband. The officers boarded the vessel and secured the subject. As they did, the subject tried to discard a small bag of cocaine, but it landed on the deck of the vessel instead of the water. After securing that subject, another subject was found to be in possession of a pill bottle that contained two cannabis joints and two pills. When asked what the pills were, the subject stated that they were “molly.” The pills tested positive for controlled substances. Both men were arrested for possession of controlled substances.
While working the Billy Bowlegs event, Lieutenant Hahr and Officer Hutchinson observed a young subject drinking beer right in front of them. When they inquired about his age, he stated that he was 21 and gave them a false birth date. When they told him that they were going to confirm his birth date, he admitted to lying to the officers. After confirming his identity and age, they issued him a notice to appear for possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under the age of 21.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
While patrolling the Blackwater Hutton Unit, Lieutenant Hahr located a group of youths that were stranded after starting their tubing trip at the wrong end of the river. Fortunately for them, a fisherman found them and was giving them a ride. Unfortunately, he also got turned around. While giving them directions, Lieutenant Hahr smelled the odor of alcoholic beverages on the youths and discovered water bottles filled with liquor among their possessions. The youths were issued notices to appear for possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officers Bembry and Lasher were patrolling a property in Alachua County known for trespassing when the officers approached three individuals fishing at a lake on the property. One of the individuals had a shotgun in his possession. A records check showed that the individual in possession of the shotgun was a convicted felon. Warnings were issued for trespassing and charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office for the possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Officer McDonald was traveling westbound on Interstate 10 when a passenger car passed him at an extreme high rate of speed. Officer McDonald activated his blue lights and siren to get the vehicle to stop. The vehicle continued at a high rate of speed until it exited several miles down at SR-121. Officer McDonald was able to make contact with the driver who also had a female passenger. Upon a records check, it was revealed that the subject was a habitual traffic violator and was on probation for the same. Officer McDonald arrested the subject and the Baker County Sheriff’s Office transported him to the Baker County Jail for booking. Charges filed against the subject include fleeing and attempting to elude a police officer, reckless driving, DUI and open container.
FWC dispatch was contacted by an individual who was on the Ichetucknee River and saw a man using a Hawaiian sling (also known as a pole spear) in the water. Officer McDonald responded by water with Officer Johnston. The officers arrived on the scene and observed the violator actively fishing with the illegal gear. Officer McDonald cited the man for illegal method (handheld spearing device) and issued a written warning for illegal device on freshwater. Nine mullet were seized and destroyed and the Hawaiian sling was seized as evidence.
Lieutenant Arkin and Officer Shearer were on vessel patrol working on the St. Johns River in front of the Jacksonville Landing during the Jacksonville Country Music Festival. They stopped a vessel for a safety inspection after the officers witnessed the operator of one vessel shouting and yelling at the operator of another vessel. The officers immediately detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverages emitting from the breath of the vessel operator. The vessel operator was unstable on his feet and also was slurring his words. Lieutenant Arkin had the vessel operator perform seated field sobriety exercises. Based on Lieutenant Arkin’s observations, he determined that the vessel operator’s normal faculties were impaired and placed him under arrest for boating under the influence of alcoholic beverages. The vessel operator refused to take a breathalyzer test at the Duval County Pre-Trial Detention Center.
Officer Davenport, acting on information provided by Investigator McMillan, conducted an investigation of over the daily bag limit of black bass. During the investigation, Officer Davenport interviewed a subject out of Mayo, resulting in the subject admitting to catching 24 black bass during a recent fishing trip on the Steinhatchee River. Charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office.
Investigator McMillan and Officer Wilcox responded to a call from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office reporting that a man had been bitten by an alligator. After arriving on the scene and gathering available information, it was determined that the subject had captured a three and one-half foot alligator the day before and was keeping it as a pet in his bath tub. The subject attempted to feeding the alligator a dead snake and was bitten on the hand. The subject refused medical attention.
Officer Deweese received information relating to a vehicle that was spotted picking up a gopher turtle and placing it in the bed. Officer Deweese located the vehicle and individuals to discover they had killed the turtle, cleaned it and planned on having it for supper. Officer Deweese will be filing charges with the assistant state attorney in Perry for the violation.
Officers Luce and Bohne were on patrol in Port Canaveral when they observed a vessel returning from a day of offshore fishing. As the officers approached the end of the dock to meet the vessel, the operator recognized their presence and slammed the vessel into reverse, inadvertently ejecting the vessel passenger. The officers ordered the operator to pick up the swimming passenger and come into the dock. Instead of complying, the operator picked up his passenger and fled the area. The officers ran down the dock, recovered their patrol boat and gave chase. The suspects attempted to elude capture by hiding their vessel between two boats along a seawall behind a popular restaurant. Once hidden, the suspects dumped their illegal catch of red snapper. Unfortunately for them, their actions were witnessed by several dozen restaurant patrons. When the officers caught up to the suspects with their patrol boat, they saw four large red snapper floating in the water around the suspect’s vessel. The passenger jumped from the vessel onto shore, and fled the area on foot. The officers positioned the patrol boat to secure the suspect vessel against the sea wall. The operator attempted to once again flee from the officers in his vessel, but surrendered, and was taken into custody when Officer Bohne drew his Taser and ordered the operator to turn the vessel off, and step away from the controls. The passenger who had fled on foot was apprehended a short time later by the Port Canaveral Police Department. A subsequent search of the suspect’s vessel identified additional felony charges for narcotics violations in addition to the charges for fleeing and eluding, and resisting arrest without violence. Both the operator and passenger were booked into the Brevard County Jail on numerous criminal violations.
Investigator Kees observed two subjects (male and female) on the railroad tracks behind Blue Springs State Park. When he made contact with the subjects, the female attempted to conceal a small item in her right pocket. When Investigator Kees questioned the subject, the female produced a small amount of marijuana and a glass pipe. The female subject was charged with possession of cannabis less than 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Officer McKee stopped a vessel heading south in the St. John’s River for violating the manatee zone (59 mph in a 25 mph zone). When Officer McKee made contact with the operator, he noticed several signs of possible impairment. After submitting to seated field sobriety tasks, Officer McKee placed the subject under arrest for BUI. The subject refused to provide a breath sample. Additionally, the subject was cited for the manatee zone violation.
Officer Hinds was patrolling the Emerson Point area while watching a small boat with two individuals on board come to shore. The individuals had been fishing, stopped near some mangroves and had a stringer of fish. Officer Hinds asked to inspect their fish, which one of the individuals took a long time to untie from the boat. Officer Hinds inspected two legal-sized redfish and when he inspected around the boat, he found a third redfish. One of the individuals admitted to catching two redfish and took one off the stringer because he knew the bag limit and he had one too many redfish. The individual was cited for possession of over the bag limit of redfish.
Officer Laskowski was patrolling the Palma Sola Bay area observing people fishing. Officer Laskowski saw two individuals walk back to their truck from fishing. As he approached them, one of them carrying a bucket walked down to the water and said he needed to measure what he had in the bucket. Officer Laskowski saw three redfish on a stringer, which were all of legal size. The individual said he did not have anything to measure the fish with and admitted to possessing two of the redfish. The individual was cited for possessing over the daily bag limit of redfish.
Officer Hinds was patrolling the south Skyway shoreline for people fishing when he saw a truck pull into the rest area with a large amount sponges tied in the bed of the truck. Officer Hinds asked the individual if he had any documentation for the commercial quantities of sponges. The individual said he was coming from south Florida to sell the sponges. The individual could not produce any paperwork as to the quantity or where he had harvested the sponges. Officer Hinds cited the individual for transporting saltwater products for the intended purpose of selling without a bill of lading.
While patrolling the north end of the Skyway Bridge fishing area, Officer Hinds observed an individual wade fish when he caught a small shark. The individual quickly filleted the shark and kept the fillets. He soon caught another small shark and filleted it as well. When the individual waded to shore, Officer Hinds inspected his catch. The individual had four shark fillets, an undersized spotted seatrout and an undersized black sea bass. The individual said he did not know there was a bag limit on sharks or that they had to be in whole condition. The individual was cited for possession of shark over the daily bag limit. He was also issued written warnings for shark not landed in whole condition, undersized spotted seatrout, and undersized black sea bass.
SOUTH REGION A
Officer Alford and Officer Kuester observed a vessel dock up at the 14th Street Boat Ramp. Officer Alford asked the operator if they had caught any fish. The operator advised that he had caught some dolphin and a barracuda. Officer Alford inspected the catch and found 12 dolphins. Eight of the dolphins were undersized. The operator was cited for the undersized dolphin and given a warning for over the bag limit of dolphin.
Lieutenant McDonald and Officer Wright were on water patrol in Port Everglades when they observed a vessel with six people on board and numerous fishing poles and equipment. During a marine fisheries inspection, the six subjects had approximately 60 dolphins, the maximum number of dolphin allowed for six people (10 per person). Of the 60 dolphin that were inspected, 13 of them were found to be under the legal-sized limit of 20 inches to the fork of the tail. The fish were seized as evidence and since all of the fish were combined together, all six of the subjects were issued criminal citations for possession of undersized dolphin.
Lieutenant Laubenberger and Officers Vacin and Corteguera were at the Dania Beach Pier for an Outreach Project. Officer Vacin had talked to Florida Sportsman about donating legal stick rulers that could be displayed on various piers in Broward County; he also received permission from all the public fishing piers in Broward County to mount these rulers. Florida Sportsman donated a couple of dozen of their rulers that have arrows pointing to various measurements and the size requirements for the different types of fish caught in Florida. The officers secured a number of the rulers in conspicuous areas of the pier to assist fishermen in measuring their catch. One of the rulers was used immediately upon being secured to help a fisherman measure the gray triggerfish he had just caught; it was undersized and immediately released back to the water. As the officers were leaving, they observed a pair of spear fishermen exiting the ocean. Upon a marine fisheries inspection, the individuals were found to have expired fishing licenses and undersized hogfish. They were cited for the violations.
Investigator Bingham was on water patrol in the ICW near Calaban Canal and the 14th Street Boat Ramp. Investigator Bingham conducted an inspection on a commercial fishing vessel inbound from a fishing trip. Investigator Bingham asked the captain if they had caught any fish during their trip. The captain replied that they had caught gray tile fish and a few dolphins. Inside an ice chest in the front of the vessel, Investigator Bingham observed dolphin. Investigator Bingham used a measuring device to determine if the dolphin met the minimum 20-inch fork length requirement. It was determined 20 of the dolphin measured were under the required size. The captain stated he thought the measurement applied to overall length. Investigator Bingham issued the captain a citation for harvesting undersized dolphin and seized the dolphin as evidence.
Officer Strader responded to a complaint regarding the illegal transportation of non-native species in Dania Beach. Officer Strader arrived at the scene and encountered a subject who admitted to capturing non-native Muscovy ducks and transporting them down the street to reduce the duck population in their condominium green-spaces. Officer Strader informed the subjects that Muscovy ducks cannot be transported from one location to another and issued a warning to the subject. Officer Strader educated other condominium residents on laws pertaining to Muscovy ducks and legal methods for removing the ducks.
Officer Strader was dispatched to a call regarding the removal of mangrove trees from a construction site. Officer Strader arrived at the construction site and discussed the tree removal with the property developer. The property developer had the appropriate permits, issued by the Army Corp of Engineers, to remove the trees for construction of a new marina.
K-9 Officer Lilley was contacted by Lieutenant Steelman who advised that she had been contacted by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office (SO) requesting the assistance of his K9 to locate a stolen firearm. K-9 Officer Lilley arrived on scene off of SR 29 south of Immokalee where earlier that day, Collier SO responded to a home invasion robbery where two suspects had broken into a residence and zip tied two juveniles and stole a Colt 1911 Delta series pistol. The Sheriff’s Office apprehended the two suspects and their K-9 teams tracked the suspects’ path from the residence to the area where they were apprehended and they located a few items along the way, including a firearm suspected of being used during the commission of the crime. Officer Lilley deployed K-9 Roscoe in a large field near some woods. K-9 Roscoe searched the area for approximately two minutes before locating and alerting on the missing Colt 1911 Delta series pistol which was hidden under some brush in the wood line. K-9 Officer Stasko and his K-9 Pearson assisted in the search, but after a few hours, neither of the teams was able to locate any other items that day. The two K-9 teams returned that evening to a different area and conducted two more searches with no success. The next evening, Collier SO requested K-9 Officer Lilley return to the area for one last search in a slightly different spot. Officer Lilley arrived on scene and while allowing his K-9 Roscoe to use the restroom, he noticed he was showing interest along a tree line while walking back to the truck. Officer Lilley stopped to check the spot out and he observed a black holster lying underneath the trees along the driveway along with a black T-shirt, a pair of black gloves, and a black ski mask a couple of feet further in the tree line. Officer Lilley then conducted one last area search where K-9 Roscoe located the last bit of missing evidence, a pair of black gloves underneath some thick vines a few feet from where the other articles were located. The subjects were booked on charges of home invasion robbery with a firearm, false imprisonment and, since the firearm that was stolen was recovered, they are able to prove grand theft of a firearm.
K-9 Officer Lilley was contacted by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office to assist with a track. They advised that there was a shooting and that two subjects had fled from a vehicle which was broken down and full of bullet holes in the middle of the street. When Officer Lilley arrived to the area, Hendry Sheriff’s Deputies had apprehended one subject walking down the street on the east side of a large field. The Sheriff’s Office gave a K-9 announcement on the loud speaker before Officer Lilley and K-9 Roscoe, along with Hendry County K-9 Deputy Garrett and K-9 Javi, began their track. Officer Lilley began to track from the vehicle and across a large field with Deputy Garrett and K-9 Javi as security when the driver of the vehicle walked out from behind a nearby house and gave himself up due to the K-9 announcements. The units located multiple empty 9 mm and 7.62 mm shell casings along the road in front of a residence where another group of subjects had been firing from at the vehicle. The subjects who were apprehended were taken in for questioning and the suspects from the house are still unknown at this time.
Officer Moss and Officer Koch were on patrol when they received information from dispatch that a subject was keeping an alligator as a pet in his back yard. Officers Moss and Koch arrived at the mobile home in Rio, and the subject was sitting out in front of the residence. Officer Moss made contact with the subject and advised that he was there to remove the alligator that was being kept in the back yard. The subject took a long pause and said “okay,” and then went to the backyard to retrieve the alligator. The subject returned with an approximately 12-inch alligator. When asked why he had the alligator, he advised he was keeping it as a pet. When asked where he got it from, he advised he got it out of a water retention area near his house. Moss explained to the subject that it was illegal to possess the alligator, and the subject advised he knew it was. The subject stated that he had a friend that got in trouble for the same thing. The subject was issued a citation for possession of an alligator without permit or license. The alligator was photographed and released in the Hungryland WMA.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Officer Hankinson observed two subjects illegally spear fishing beneath the State Road 707 Bridge without a divers down flag. Upon inspection, the subjects were found to be in possession of a speared, 40-inch snook. The harvester was cited for possession of snook out of season, harvesting by illegal method, possession of oversized snook and no divers down flag. Violation of spearing within 300 feet of posted bridge and no fishing licenses were also addressed accordingly.
Officer Nasworth was on foot patrol in the area of Canal Point Locks when he received a phone call that a subject was throwing a cast net by the old lock. Officer Nasworth observed the subject throwing a cast net and discovered him to be in possession of eleven black crappie. Officer Nasworth arrested the subject and booked the subject on illegal method of taking freshwater fish by cast net, and issued the subject a citation for no resident freshwater fishing license.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
While patrolling the Belcher Canal Spillway, Investigator Turner observed a male subject place a snook in the bed of his pickup truck. As the subject drove away from the area, Investigator Turner conducted a traffic stop. After obtaining the driver’s fishing license, Investigator Turner asked if he had caught any fish, and he advised he had what he thought to be a snook. Investigator Turner went to the bed of the truck and located the snook. The snook was still attached to the fishing rod with the white soft plastic lure in its mouth. He measured the fish and obtained photos for documentation. The snook measured 35.75 inches in total length. Since the fish was harvested out of season and over the maximum size limit, he tried to revive the fish for release. The fish was unable to be revived. The subject was arrested and transported to the St. Lucie County Jail for possession of snook out of season and possession of oversized snook.
K-9 Officer Payne, Investigator Turner and Officer Irwin responded to a call for an injured manatee in the North Fork of the St. Lucie River on June 12th. Manatee biologists reported that a contact of theirs reported that a small manatee with severe prop cuts was struggling to submerge and needed to be located for a status report. The officers located the manatee and relayed the information. The manatee rescue team was dispatched and, with the help of the officers, was safely captured and transported for emergency care.
Officer Pifer was conducting surveillance at an area in Ft. Pierce where snook are commonly taken during the closed season when he observed an individual come into his field of vision and walk towards a bushy area near a fence line. Once at the fence, Officer Pifer lost sight of the individual; however, after a brief period of time, the individual reappeared and was now holding a small snook. At this time, Officer Pifer exited his patrol vehicle and made his way towards the individual to make contact. When the individual noticed Officer Pifer, he attempted to get rid of the snook by throwing it down the canal bank towards the water. Officer Pifer was able to retrieve the snook and subsequently charged the individual with possession of snook during a closed season, undersized snook, and interfering with an FWC Officer.
Officer Pifer and Investigator Patterson were conducting boating safety and fisheries inspections in the ICW in Ft. Pierce when they stopped a vessel with two individuals on board actively engaged in fishing. A fisheries inspection revealed three undersized mutton snapper. One individual claimed possession of the snapper and was cited for the violation. The other individual received a citation for no saltwater license.
Officer Pifer and K-9 Officer Payne were conducting boating safety and fisheries inspections in the early morning hours in the ICW in Ft. Pierce when they stopped a commercial fishing vessel that was being operated without navigation lights. There was one individual on board actively gigging. During the fisheries inspection, the officers noticed that all 13 spotted seatrout appeared to have been gigged. When asked, the individual stated that he had gigged all the seatrout and thought it was a legal method of take; however, the only legal methods for harvesting spotted seatrout is by the use of a cast net or hook and line. The individual was cited for harvesting spotted seatrout by an illegal method and the fish were seized as evidence.
Officer Willems was on foot patrol at one of the local spillways when he observed an individual behind the chain-link fence that surrounds the spillway structure. Contact was made with the individual and he was informed that he was trespassing. The individual stated that he did not know, even though there are numerous no trespassing signs on the fence and the spillway itself. The individual also had to climb on and around the fence to get back to the side Officer Willems was on. The individual was issued a notice to appear for trespassing.
Dispatch has received numerous reports of individuals keeping snook at one of the local spillways even though snook season is closed. Officer Willems was conducting surveillance at this spillway when he observed an individual walking away from the spillway carrying a large snook and pushing a red bike. Due to the location of surveillance, Officer Willems had to drive around and over a bridge to reach the neighborhood the individual was walking to. While doing this, he lost sight of the individual. Once on the other side, Officer Willems searched and was able to find the individual and observed him lay the snook down in the grass in front of a house. The individual was arrested without incident and transported to jail. Officer Willems was able to drive the snook back to the water, revive it, and let it swim away. The individual was charged with two 2nd degree misdemeanors, one for harvesting snook out of season, and the other for harvest of an oversized snook.
SOUTH REGION B
Lieutenant Barrett and Investigator Haney were on water patrol in Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve when they observed a vessel traveling at night without proper navigational lights. They conducted a vessel safety stop and during the safety inspection, they detected signs of impairment from the operator. After conducting seated field sobriety tasks, they determined that the operator was impaired and arrested him for BUI. He refused to provide an alcohol breath sample and it was determined that he had three previous arrests for driving under the influence.
While on water patrol, Officer Reith and Officer Van Trees observed a large vessel traveling in from offshore towards Big Marco Pass in Collier County. After stopping the vessel and conducting a resource inspection, two greater amberjacks were found on board the vessel. One of the occupants on board admitted to spearing both fish and was given a citation for being over the bag limit and harvesting greater amberjack out of season.
An officer and a lieutenant responded to a call of subjects illegally harvesting blue land crabs near Old Cutler Road and SW 184 Street. Upon arrival, they observed four adult subjects standing next to a vehicle with an open trunk that contained three containers of blue land crabs. When counted, the subjects were found to be in possession of 192 crabs with approximately 140 of them having been crushed or punctured. The owner of the vehicle was cited for over the limit and illegal method of harvest.
An investigator and officer on patrol at Black Point Marina were checking returning vessels for compliance with resource laws and safety equipment requirements. A fisheries inspection of one vessel containing five subjects revealed them to be in possession of 55 undersized dolphin. Two of the subjects claiming responsibility thought that the fish could be measured by overall length. The officer informed them that the proper type of measurement for this particular fish was by fork length; the two subjects were cited for the violation.
Officer Bogue was patrolling the area of Hawks Channel near Indian Key when he received a report of two males in the water spear fishing. The call came in from a commercial fisherman who saw the two males spear several fish and bring them to their boat. Once Officer Bogue arrived on scene and located the vessel, he began to investigate the alleged violation. It wasn’t long before the two divers resurfaced in possession of speared fish. A thorough inspection of the vessel revealed several fish speared that included hogfish, snapper, jacks, and a barracuda. The three men ultimately received notices to appear in court for spear fishing in the upper Keys.
COP (Community Oriented Policing)
Officer Barringer conducted a saltwater fishing and boating safety class for a local fishing summer camp for children. Officer Barringer covered saltwater fishing regulations, handled questions regarding fishing techniques and discussed boating safety equipment. Ten bright children attended who asked great questions and were left with a vast amount of fishing and boating knowledge.