TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) “netted” a big one. The FWC arrested four men for gill-netting in state waters and seized approximately 48,000 square feet in monofilament entangling nets and 4,000 pounds of fish.
The case was made as officers worked a net detail early Friday morning, March 20, in Caxambas Pass, in the waters off Collier County. Officers observed two boats (running without navigation lights) working together, pulling illegal nets full of fish. Officers stopped the two boats and found approximately 2 tons of ladyfish, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, pompano, spotted seatrout, bonnethead shark and blacktip shark. Some of the fish were still alive in the gill nets.
Carey S. Arthur, DOB 01/25/71, of Naples; Daryl G. Ankney, DOB 08/30/82, of Bonita Springs; Kirkwood J. Smith, DOB 06/21/67, of Naples; and Scott J. Mobley, DOB 01/8/75, of Ruskin are facing felony charges. The men were booked into the Collier County jail.
“These nets don’t discriminate; they can entangle any species, and are very damaging to our resource,” FWC Capt. Alfredo Escanio said. “We hope this sends a message to the fishing community that we are out there, protecting the state’s marine life.”
The FWC sold the seized fish to a fish house. The proceeds are being kept in escrow, pending the outcome of the case.
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