Sheriff’s Deputy Seth Hopp handled several marine violation cases on Saturday and would like to remind everyone how important it is to know the fishing rules and regulations before coming to Monroe County to go fishing.
A man from Pahokee, Florida received multiple citations for possessing dead Porkfish. Deputy Seth Hopp was on patrol, checking for marine violations at the Long Key Bridge Saturday afternoon. At 6 p.m., he stopped to talk to Phokee resident 63 year old Lonnie Spry. He asked Spry if he’d caught any fish. Spry opened his cooler and showed the deputy the fish he and his family had caught.
In the cooler the deputy found 19 dead Porkfish. State regulations require Porkfish, which are a species harvested for use in aquariums, be caught and kept alive by someone holding a proper recreational license to harvest marine life. Spry also had an undersized schoolmaster snapper in the cooler. He was cited for all the violations.
At 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Deputy Hopp was on patrol and stopped at the 61 mile marker to check on two people fishing. On the ground near the pair he saw a stringer with numerous small fish on it. Closer inspection revealed three Lane snapper that were below the legal size limit. 31 year old Daniesky Rayes Orfila of Miami said he thought they were grunts and didn’t know they were Lane snapper. He later admitted to knowing they were snapper, but said he didn’t know the size limit. He was issued citations for the violations.
Deputy Hopp was on patrol later at 11 p.m. that same night when he was called to assist Sgt. Nick Whiteman at 12650 Overseas Highway in Marathon. Sgt. Whiteman had stopped to talk with two men who were there fishing. The men were found to be in possession of four undersized fish – two Schoolmaster and two Mangrove snappers.
One of the men took responsibility for the fish and was charged with the marine violations. 32 year old Jose Camona Tinoco of Hialeah said he had nothing to measure with and was not aware of the size limits for the fish. He at one point also said another man had given him the fish. He received citations for all the violations.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind everyone to know the rules before fishing in the Florida Keys. Ignorance is not an excuse. Deputies are on patrol both on land and on the water and will cite violators. The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office takes marine violations in our community very seriously.