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Two charged with federal crimes of fishing queen caracol out of season

Isla Mujeres, Q.R. — Navy personnel have seized a private catch of queen caracol and starfish that were caught during closed season. On Thursday, personnel from the Secretaría de Marina reported on the Wednesday arrests of two and seizure of their illegal catch.

According to a report by the FGR (State Attorney General of the Republic), the pair were located free dive fishing in waters off the coast of Isla Mujeres. Patrolling personnel found the two men and their vessel near Puerto Juárez Wednesday.

The Marina, in collaboration with the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas (CONANP) and the National Commission of Aquaculture and Fisheries (CONAPESCA), made the seizures.

“During maritime surveillance patrols in waters near Puerto Juárez belonging to the municipality of Isla Mujeres, federal authorities sighted a small draft vessel with two crew members on board.

“After carrying out a precautionary inspection, 31 live specimens of queen caracol and four starfish were found,” they reported.

Authorities approached the small vessel to find one man in the boat and another in the water outfitted with dive fishing equipment.

“The shipment of fishery products was confiscated. However, given that the specimens were alive at the time the Mexican Navy personnel and inspectors identified the vessel, they were subsequently released following the necessary protocol and photographic documentation,” they added.

Queen conch is closed on the coast of Quintana Roo from May 1 to October 31 of each year. Neither had permits to fish other species. Both men are charged with federal crimes since fishing “this marine species (queen caracol) is closed.

Their catch was released back into the sea. Their boat was seized. The detainees were transferred to the Puerto Juárez Naval station, the agency added.

Last week, two locals were arrested for free dive fishing in protected waters off the coast of Akumal. They were the latest in a string of illegal poachers caught fishing off the coast of Quintana Roo this year.