Two Tampa men have been arrested on charges that they used an illegal gill net to catch out-of-season fish near Gandy Beach. They also ensnared a dolphin calf, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Yunior C. Rosales Morales, 30, and Yandi Concepcion, 34, face numerous charges in connection with the catch. They were arrested on July 31, according to the wildlife commission.
Officers said the men had three nets in their possession that measured 3,125 square feet. They also took several kinds of fish using the nets, the commission reported in a news release.
The men face three felony charges regarding the use of gill nets and 28 misdemeanor charges, including taking snook out of season; taking undersize snook; taking redfish out of season and oversize redfish; and taking over the bag limit of bonnet head sharks.
The maximum penalty for each felony charge is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The men were booked at the Pinellas County jail.
Bottlenose dolphins are federally protected. The commission said its officers are working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on the case.
The commission said the arrest was the result of anonymous tips to the agency’s Wildlife Alert Hotline and “proactive law enforcement.”
Gill nets are at least partially made with monofilament material that captures all but very small fish, causing fish and marine life that get caught in them to die.
Voters approved a Constitutional Amendment banning them in Florida waters that went into effect in 1995.