At a special sitting of Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 46 Dominicans changed their pleas from “not guilty” to “guilty” on charges related to illegal fishing in Bahamian waters.
The Dominican nationals were previously charged before the courts July 12, after they were apprehended for poaching in the southern Bahamas.
At that time, they pleaded not guilty to numerous charges totaling over $3 million.
At the hearing, the men were convicted and fined $53,000 each, which represented an increase of two and a half times the maximum amount (or $20,000), levied against Dominicans apprehended by the defence force earlier in June.
The captain of the vessel was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for firearm possession and one year for possession of a shotgun and ammunition. Those sentences are to run concurrently.
Another Dominican was fined $100,000 as it was his second conviction for poaching in Bahamian waters.
All of the men were remanded to the Bahamas Department of Corrections (BDOC) and will be deported upon completion of jailtime or payment of fines.