Marine life taken from replenishment zone during closed season
A man who pleaded guilty to taking 70 conch illegally was ordered to do one hour of community service for each conch he caught.
“When we have a second offense and this number of conch, we have to consider jail,” Magistrate Valdis Foldats told defendant Roberto Alden Jackson. “Fortunately, because of your efforts, we don’t have to send you to jail.”
He noted that Jackson, 34, had come to court for this matter 18 times. He was directed to see a probation officer and attend counselling.
In addition to pleading guilty and taking responsibility for his actions, Jackson had done everything the court had asked him to do, the magistrate said. He added that he still had to send a stern message about punishment for marine offenses.
Jackson pleaded guilty in October 2013 to charges of taking more conch than the daily limit, taking them from a replenishment zone and during closed season. The offenses occurred on Oct. 7, 2012.
Crown Counsel Candia James said marine officers were on routine patrol in the North Sound around the area of the Sand Bar, when they saw a 14-foot fishing boat with no one in it. They drew closer and observed a large number of conch in the boat. They then saw three men diving in the vicinity and took them aboard the marine vessel.
Officers counted the conch and returned them to the sea, one at a time, as the offenders observed.
Ms. James noted that Jackson had a marine conservation conviction in 2011.
The defendant said he was willing to do community service but he expressed concern about his job.
The magistrate explained that the program supervisor would meet with him and ensure that his community service was scheduled only for the days Jackson had off.
The other men found by marine officers were Chris Adrian Solomon, 34, and Eudelises Rodriquez, 48. Rodriquez pleaded guilty and was fined $600 earlier this year. Solomon’s charges are set for trial on March 23, 2015.