Dominican poachers fined $1.9 million

Dominican poachers fined $1.9 million
81 Dominican poachers were taken to court this week. (RBDF)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Less than a week after they were apprehended by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force for poaching in Bahamian waters, 81 Dominican poachers were fined a total of $1.9 million.

The poachers faced charges during hearings in Magistrates Court on Wednesday and Thursday.

During the hearing before Deputy Chief Magistrate Andrew Forbes, 37 Dominican crew members of DFV “El Ship” were charged with: engaging in illegal foreign fishing within the exclusive fishery zone of The Bahamas; possession of undersized Nassau Grouper; possession of prohibited apparatus; and possession of undersized crawfish.

The men all pleaded “guilty” and were convicted and fined $20,000 each or six months in prison on Wednesday.

The captain was fined $30,000 or 9 months in prison.

(Photos courtesy of RBDF)

During the hearing before Chief Magistrate Joanne Ferguson Pratt yesterday, 44 Dominican crew members of DFV “Angel Gabriel” were also charged with: engaging in illegal foreign fishing within the exclusive fishery zone of The Bahamas; possession of undersized Nassau Grouper; possession of prohibited apparatus; and possession of undersized crawfish.

The captain and crew pleaded guilty to all of the charges.

Of the group, there were 29 first time offenders who were fined $25,000 each or six months in prison.

There were 14 repeat offenders who were fined $30,000 each and sentenced to six months in prison, and the captain was fined $35,000 and sentenced to nine months in prison.

Failure to pay these fines would result in an additional eight months in jail for both the repeat offenders and the captain.

The two Dominican Vessels were apprehended in the area of Diamond Point, Great Bahama Bank by members of HMBS Lignum Vitae, under the command of Lieutenant James Cox, on September 17.