Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handled net and oystering violations at the end of last month.
Resource Protection Service (RPS) Officers John Allen and Matt Gore received information that two individuals were fishing a seine net on the beachside of Bald Point State Park. When they arrived on the scene, they set up surveillance on two individuals who were fishing two nets, and were able to determine they were fishing with two monofilament gill nets. They observed the individuals working the nets pulling crabs and fish from the net. The two officers approached the individuals and identified themselves. Two monofilament nets were seized and the case was turned over to the State Attorney’s Office for prosecution.
Officers Allen and Gore were on patrol in St. George Island State Park when they observed two individuals cast netting on the bay side of the park. Further surveillance revealed that one of the individuals fishing was a repeat resource offender, whose recreational and commercial fishing license is revoked for net fishing violations.
They continued surveillance and when the individuals quit fishing, the officers identified themselves and conducted a resource stop. The individual with the revoked license was in possession of a quantity of fish which included an undersized black drum. The subject was arrested and booked into the Franklin County Jail for fishing on a revoked saltwater products license and possession of an undersized black drum.
While on night patrol, Officers Allen and Gore observed a boat in the Eastpoint Channel operating without navigation lights. Surveillance was set up on the vessel. There were two occupants on board and the individuals were observed harvesting oysters off of exposed oyster bars in the channel, an area where harvesting is prohibited. The officers watched as the individuals harvested several bags of unculled oysters, brought them back to the boat ramp and hid them.
When the boat returned back to the boat ramp with more oysters, the officers identified themselves to the boat operator and passenger. The operator of the boat took off running into the water, but Gore was able to apprehend him. Seven large bags of oysters were seized and returned back to the water alive.
The subjects on the boat were booked into the Franklin County Jail and charged with harvesting oysters in a prohibited area, harvesting oysters between sunset and sunrise, and possession of unculled oysters. One subject was charged with resisting a law enforcement officer without violence and possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis.