Joint Marine Law Enforcement Operation Nets Illegal Crawfish

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Crawfish
New Providence, Bahamas (May 30, 2016) – Inspection of Coral Harbour supermarket discovers sale of crawfish and marks new collaboration by enforcement agencies.

A Sunday afternoon inspection of the Phoenix Fresh Market in Coral Harbour by a cross-agency team of law enforcement agents led to a major discovery of illegal crawfish on sale during the closed season.

“With an annual closed season extending from April 1 to July 31 each year, we are right in the middle of the most important time for reproduction of crawfish,” explained the assisting Fisheries Inspector from the Department of Marine Resources. “Any premises still in possession of lobster during closed season must have appropriate documentation from the Department of Marine Resources.”

Adding to the seriousness of the crime, a total of 56 crawfish tails on sale were found to be under the legal size which is 5 ½ inches tail length. The smallest tails measured as little as 3 inches long.

“We remind all customers, stores and fishers that Bahamian Fisheries Regulations exist in order to protect our natural resources for the long term,” commented Superintendent Palmer of Bahamas Customs. “As a nation we depend heavily on marine resources and only through full compliance with closed seasons, catch and size limits, and marine protected areas can we ensure the sustainable catch of seafood and the future livelihoods upon which our communities depend.”

Operation Blue Fin was a joint effort by the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Bahamas Customs Marine Unit, based on intelligence from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and advice from the Department of Marine Resources. Sunday’s collaboration follows up on recent joint training in marine law enforcement that was organized by The Bahamas National Trust. The operation puts into practice a new network of law enforcement agencies in The Bahamas and other Caribbean nations focused on marine resources.

“A person who violates any provision of the Fisheries Regulations may be punished by a monetary penalty of $3,000 and up to $100,000 and/or one year imprisonment. A further deterrent is that fines and imprisonment terms are doubled for repeat violations,” added Officer Palmer.

On Sunday night the General Manager of the store was in custody awaiting charges.
For more information or to report violations please contact the Department of Marine Resources, tel. 3931777.

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