NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Three days after they were apprehended by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF), seven Dominican fishermen were charged before the courts on Friday for poaching in Bahamian waters.
According to the RBDF, patrol craft P-129, coxswained by Petty Officer Edison Rolle, apprehended the seven Dominicans aboard two small go-fast type boats approximately 20 feet in length.
The incident took place around noon on Tuesday, November 11, in the area of Little Inagua with approximately 150 pounds of scaled fish and lobster on board.
Fausto Garcia , Gabriel Pailora, Carlos Duran, Ramon Lopez , Carlos Rodriguez, Elias Simon and Juan Duran all appeared before Magistrate Cara Turnquest in Court No. 11 and were charged with four offences under the Fisheries Resources Act as follows: Illegal foreign fishing within the exclusive fishery zone; possession of a grouper during the closed season from December 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019; possession of prohibited apparatus, namely air compressor tank and possession of prohibited apparatus, namely spear guns.
In Friday’s hearing, all of the Dominicans pleaded guilty and were subsequently convicted and fined a total of $413,000 each or time spent in jail. Jail sentences are to run concurrently.
Fines and sentences were as follows:
Count #1: Fined $50,000 each or 9 months in jail.
Count # 2: Fined $3,000 each or 6 months in jail.
Count # 3: Fined $3,000 each or 6 months in jail.
Count # 4: Fined $3,000 each or 6 months in jail.
Prior to this incident, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force said it apprehended a total of 172 Dominican poachers and 4 Dominican fishing vessels with over 100,000 pounds of fisheries products in June, July and October of this year (2018).
The poachers, the RBDF said, were all charged and found guilty by the courts for various fishing violations and sentenced to time ranging from 6 to 18 months at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services, and the total fines awarded were approximately $7 million.