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Random tours for illegal fishing begins in south of state

Chetumal, Q.R. — Environmental authorities have begun random patrols of coastal waters in search of illegal fishing. During their first tour this week, illegal crab traps were found and seized in waters off Chetumal Bay.

Personnel from the Procuraduría de Protección al Ambiente (PPA) began making the random spot checks earlier this week to curb the illegal fishing authorities know takes place in and around the Bay.

The Environmental Protection Agency (PPA) head, Miguel Ángel Nadal Novelo, reported incorporating a new vessel into their fleet which is being used to offer greater water patrols.

He says the patrols are being done to protect the state’s natural resources from poachers. “The objective is the fight against illegal fishing that clandestinely is being carried out in the bay of Chetumal, in its estuaries, rapids and lagoons.”

The new vessel they have was a donation by the Foundation of Parks and Museums of the island of Cozumel. Novelo says with the 26-foot long boat that can transport 10, they are able to provide priority to specific areas through water surveillance operations.

During their first tour, illegal crab traps were located and removed from the water.

“Several crab traps have already been found on the first tour. It is this type of activity that promotes the illegal trade of edible species and violates the survival of protected species,” he explained.

On a Thursday morning tour at the mouth of the Hondo River in the state’s extreme south, PPA personnel located nets placed to catch snapper fish, which Novelo says, is prohibited.

“With these surveillance operations between state agencies and federal authorities, we will be able to carry out the inspection and surveillance tours of the Bay to stop these actions and help us to protect the priority sites for the conservation of coastal and oceanic environments.”

The Secretary of the Navy, along with the Chetumal Port Authority and other government agencies, participate in the surveillance for illegal fishing.