A Coast Guard Station Islamorada Special Purpose Craft- Law Enforcement crew with an FWC officer aboard located the boat off South Sound Creek with improper display of navigation lights.
Through the course of the boarding, the team discovered 11 shark fins and dismembered sharks aboard the boat Miss Shell. The boat was escorted to Port Largo, and the catch was seized.
Petty Officer 1st Class Rich Steidell, USCG Station Islamorada, said:
This case is a great example of interagency coordination to stop illegal fishing and allows for efficient enforcement of the commercial fishing fleet in the waters surrounding the Florida Keys...Boaters and fishermen are reminded to familiarize themselves with the fishing regulations to make sure they are complying with federal law.
The violations against the operator of the boat included failure to maintain a shark in its proper form, and failure to maintain naturally attached shark fins through off-loading. The detached shark fins will be sent to a laboratory for testing to determine the species of the origin and could lead to further charges, such as possession of prohibited species.
The seized catch was transferred to NOAA officials Tuesday and an investigation is underway.