Two commercial fishermen were charged with more than 1,300 conservation and fish violations after being found inside a no-take zone in the Dry Tortugas, off the Florida Keys, reports The Miami Herald.
Both men were cited with taking 664 yellowtail snapper — one misdemeanor count for each fish — seized from the commercial boat Candelaria, according to a report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
Boat owner Evelio Lazar Egusquiza Fornes, 49, of Miami and mate Jorge Nesto Gellart, 49, also were charged with fishing inside the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, a no-fishing zone enacted under the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and other violations.
“The two occupants were actively harvesting yellowtail snapper by hook and line, and were very surprised to see us,” FWC Lt. Josh Peters wrote in a report.
Signals from the boat’s vessel monitoring system, a radio beacon required aboard commercial boats in some federal waters, showed the boat was stopped inside the no-take area, Peters reported. Officers patrolling the Dry Tortugas responded and located the Candelaria in the northern reserve.