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Two seen fishing illegally in protected Cozumel waters

Cozumel, Q.R. — Providers of nautical services at Cozumel have reported a boat that was seen fishing in protected waters.

Local residents have reported an unlicensed, unnamed boat that was seen with two men illegally fishing in the protected waters of the National Reef Park. The pair, who were fishing with a rod, were reported to Profepa officials as well as the Harbor Master.

According to Brenda Hernández, director of the National Reef Park of Cozumel, an official complaint was filed with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (Profepa) and the Harbor Master’s Office to ensure they are reprimanded.

Hernández explained that on Tuesday afternoon, they received a complaint from local nautical service providers who were in the area. They reported locating a boat in front of the Paso del Cedral Reef which was without registration. Onboard the boat were two people fishing with rods within the protected natural area.

Nautical officials headed out to the area where they fishermen were reported to be located, but by the time they arrived, the boat was gone. However, the official complaint was accompanied with photos and videos, which Profepa officers are able to use to track down the illegal fishermen.

Hernandez encourages nautical service providers to continue denouncing poaching and other bad practices seen inside the marine park since they have an enormous area to cover and cannot always arrive at the precise moment when the crime is being committed.

She also said that often, illegal fishermen will throw their gear into the water when they see the park rangers approaching, something that complicates verification of the crime, which is why photos are important.