10 arrested in Florida for illegally netting 500 pounds of fish

Authorities in Florida have charged 10 suspects for illegally using monofilament gill nets to capture and kill more than 500 pounds of fish, including sharks.

All 10 suspects are from Atlanta, Ga. After being found with four gillnets measuring 1 ,600 ft at the Skyway Bridge North Rest Area, St. Petersburg.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced details about the bust on Thursday.

The suspects were identified as Marcos Lopez Navarrete (27), Ernesto Lopez Navarrete (35), Roberto Gonzalez Lopez (41), Carlos Lopez Santana (18), Fredy Lopez Navarrete (38), Fredy Lopez Reyez (18), Rafael Castro Herrera (40), Daniel Reyez Valente (26), Efren Lopez Navarette (43) and Lorenzo Lopez Navarette (40).

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Each suspect was charged for illegally using gillnets. They were also charged with second- and first-degree misdemeanor offenses for illegally capturing various species such as trout, sharks and permit.

The maximum penalty for a third-degree felony is five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. The maximum penalty for a first-degree misdemeanor charge is one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. A second-degree misdemeanor charge can result in a sentence of up to 60 day in jail and/or an $500 penalty.

Monofilament gillnets , invisible underwater, trap fish through the gills and kill them indiscriminately. These nets are suspended underwater by floats and pose a serious threat to marine mammals, endangered turtles, and diving bird species.

The FWC stated that the evidence of netting taken was more than four-and-a half football fields .”

The arrests were made after a period under surveillance in response to an anonymous tip.

Monofilament Gill nets were prohibited in Florida in 1995.

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