While conducting a patrol in the Carrabelle River, from Sept. 9-15, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lt. Marlow and Officers Boyd, Nelson and Robb located a small commercial vessel that had a trawl net aboard rigged for fishing and had saltwater products aboard.

After further inspection of the vessel and its gear, it was observed that the trawl net was the only net aboard and had evidence that it had been recently fished. The net did not have a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) or Bycatch Reduction Device (BRD). The captain of the vessel didn't have the required commercial licenses and had three boating-related violations as well. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

During offshore patrol south of Franklin County, Marlow, Boyd, Nelson and Robb conducted numerous vessel stops in federal waters. During the patrol, they located three different vessels with red snapper aboard. The stops had multiple cases for possession of red snapper during federal closure. The appropriate action was taken for these violations.

While conducting offshore vessel patrol south of Franklin and Gulf counties, Marlow, Boyd, Nelson and Robb conducted a stop on a dive vessel approximately 25 miles offshore. As they approached, they noticed two red snapper floating directly behind the vessel. After recovering the snapper, they noticed one of the fish had been shot with a spear gun. Once aboard the vessel, the officers located another red snapper in another cooler and the captain of the vessel stated “where did that come from?” An interview of the occupants revealed they had speared, hooked and line-caught the red snapper and thrown them overboard upon seeing the officers. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

As they approached a vessel in federal waters, FWC officers observed fish being thrown overboard, and an occupant quickly digging in a cooler. A quick approach prevented additional fish from being thrown overboard and the officers were able to locate four red snapper in the fish box and one red snapper in between the captain’s foot and gunwale of the vessel. The appropriate action was taken for the violations.

Officer Boutwell was on land patrol in the Flint Rock Wildlife Management Area in Wakulla County when he saw two men standing next to a vehicle. When he made contact with the camouflage-clad individuals, they said that they had been scouting for deer. Boutwell noticed that they had backpacks on the ground next to them and asked if he could inspect them. One of the backpacks contained several empty Ziploc bags. When asked what had been in the bags, one of the men said they had contained corn and other bait for deer. The two men agreed to show the two officers where they had placed the bait. One of the men admitted he had placed the bait and was issued a notice to appear for placing bait in a WMA.