FWC Report January 9, 2014

Published: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 10:08 AM.

During the week of Dec. 13-19, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers Anderson and Gore set up surveillance on two subjects duck hunting in Apalachicola Bay.

When the hunters quit hunting, the officers conducted a resource stop to check for bag limit compliance with the ducks that had been shot. When identifying themselves to the hunters, the operator of the boat put the boat in reverse and started backing away from the officers. When doing this, both officers observed the hunters throwing ducks overboard.

Once getting the vessel stopped, they found the hunters to be in possession of over the bag limit of ducks. The hunters were cited for the bag limit violation and inference with a FWC officer.

During the week of Dec. 20, 2013 to Jan. 2, 2014, Officer Allen received information a habitual offender would be out fishing for mullet near St. George Island with a large mesh net during the evening. Officers Stephens and Allen worked several hours in the afternoon attempting to locate the suspect’s vehicle and launch location.

In the early evening, Allen located the suspect’s vehicle at a private ramp on St. George Island and contacted Officers Gore and Nelson to assist with surveillance of the ramp. The officers concealed themselves for several hours waiting for the suspect to arrive and disclosed their location and identified themselves as the vessel was being pulled from the water.

The primary suspect has an extensive history of net violations and has had his fishing privileges revoked, but was in possession of three, large-mesh nylon nets, several hundred pounds of mullet, three red drum and four black drum. Numerous resource and boating safety citations were issued in the case, including a felony for fishing with privileges revoked. The suspect was booked into the Franklin County Jail.

During the past two weeks, Allen and Stephens have been diligent on patrol locating individuals harvesting undersized oysters in Apalachicola Bay. Their persistence has paid off, with the officers making several undersized cases. Some of the percentages for the undersized oysters were as high as 90 percent.

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