Florida: Two individuals arrested for illegal possession of nurse sharks
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission ( FWC )
Division of Law Enforcement
September 4, 2015 thru September 11, 2015
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SOUTH REGION B
Officer Hein was on state land patrol in the Islamorada area when he noticed a group of people fishing on a private dock. Officer Hein pulled over and conducted a resource inspection. While walking up to the group, Officer Hein noticed a schoolmaster snapper on the ground near the individuals flopping around. Officer Hein asked if they had any luck catching fish and they stated that they have not caught anything. Officer Hein requested valid fishing licenses, which nobody could present. Officer Hein noticed all of their belongings scattered everywhere with enormous piles of trash from the group. Officer Hein then noticed 2 nurse sharks that were behind the group laying in the sun, one of which was still alive. Officer Hein again asked the group if they had caught any fish and they still said they had not caught any fish. Officer Hein pointed out the schoolmaster snapper and the 2 nurse sharks and nobody had any recollection of catching the fish.
Officer Hein asked if there were any more fish and the group again said no. Officer Hein noticed a cooler amidst their belongings and gained consent to search the cooler only to find more fish. In the cooler, Officer Hein identified a green moray eel, grey triggerfish and a mangrove snapper. Officer Hein asked who caught the fish and nobody knew who caught the fish. At the conclusion of the investigation, one individual was cited for possession of undersized gray triggerfish and for not possessing a valid recreational shoreline saltwater fishing license. The two other individuals that had been fishing were subsequently arrested for possession of undersized nurse shark, over the bag limit of shark, possession of undersized schoolmaster snapper and failure to land marine live alive. They were transported to a detention facility in Islamorada.
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