On March 3, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) officers onboard the FWC’s Gulf Sentry, an offshore patrol vessel, conducted a resource inspection on a commercial shrimping vessel that was determined to be operating illegally just south of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Bay. The vessel, named the Dona Lupa, and its crew were from Port Isabel, Texas.
During their inspection, officers discovered more than 11,000 pounds of shrimp, valued at more than $30,000, and several pounds of cobia fillets in the vessel’s freezer. Upon further inspection, officers also discovered turtle-excluder device (TED) violations.
“Our officers remain committed to stopping these illegal commercial shrimping trips,” said Major Rob Rowe, FWC Southwest Regional Commander. “Florida’s resources must be protected from illegal harvest, and our specially trained officers are dedicated to ensuring that these illegal commercial vessel operators are cited accordingly.
The vessel’s captain was cited for not having a restricted species endorsement on their Saltwater Products License, failure to display Saltwater Products License on vessel, possession of cobia not in whole condition and TED violations.
For more information about commercial fishing regulations, visit MyFWC.com/marine and click on “Commercial Regulations.”
For more information about the FWC Division of Law Enforcement Special Programs, such as the Offshore Patrol Vessel Program, visit MyFWC.com/law-enforcement and click on “Special Programs of FWC Law Enforcement.”