TAMPA (WFLA) — An investigation into the illegal netting of several fish species including a juvenile bottlenose dolphin resulted in the arrest of two Tampa men.
The fish were caught at Gandy Beach using three gill nets exceeding 3,125 square feet in size, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) said.
Gill nets are vertical sections of net that are stretched out on a rope suspended by a float and work by “entangling” the fish within the mesh. A majority of marine life that become entangled in the net die, FWC says.
Tampa residents Yunior Morales, 30, and Yandie Concepcion, 34, were charged with three felonies related to the gill nets and 28 misdemeanors for other fishing crimes.
The FWC is working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on the discovery of the bottlenose dolphin calf.
“Our officers work hard to protect Florida’s precious natural resources and egregious violations such as these are reminders of why our work is so important,” said SW Regional Commander, Maj. Roger Young. “The use of this type of fishing gear is not only illegal but it is harmful to fish and wildlife by indiscriminately killing much of the fish and wildlife that become entangled in it.”
The fishermen’s gear and boat used to capture the fish were seized by FWC.