Guam – Department of Agriculture conservation officers arrested several individuals for illegal hunting and fishing activities this month.
The department’s law enforcement section reported five cases, in total.
Two out of the five involved individuals arrested for illegal fishing within the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve. Another two were apprehended for the same violation in the Piti Bomb Holes Marine Preserve area.
One case involved illegal hunting near Buena Vista estates in Santa Rita.
Conservation officers arrested four individuals over illegal hunting activities on April 4. The individuals were apprehended after conservation officers spotted their spotlight flashing the jungle line. Officers confiscated one loaded 12-gauge shotgun, one headlamp and several ammunition cartridges from the individuals.
The suspects were charged for violating regulations concerning the protection of wild animals and prohibited use of artificial light. The four were booked and released.
After the illegal hunting arrests, agriculture director Chelsa Muna-Brecht said, “Your Agriculture Conservation Officers actively monitor areas that are burned during illegally set wild land fires. It is our hope that this monitoring will discourage poachers from repeatedly destroying more and more of Guam’s precious resources.”
Brecht added, “Grassland fires lead to erosion; erosion leads to ruined fish habitat in oceans and rivers, as well as dead coral reefs. These offensive actions
hurt us all.”
On April 5, officers apprehended two men for illegal fishing activities in the Tumon Bay Marine Preserve. Officers confiscated the following items:
- 10 assorted reef fish;
- Two spear guns;
- Other fishing paraphernalia, and;
- a Toyota pickup.
On April 12, at around 7:00 p.m., officers arrested a lone fisherman for hand-line fishing in the same area. Aside from the violator’s catch, officers also confiscated a homemade hand-line and other fishing paraphernalia.
Several hours later, officers arrested five men for illegal fishing in the Piti Bomb Holes Marine Preserve. In this incident, conservation officers confiscated 151 assorted non-target species of reef fish, five sets of spear fishing gear, and other fishing tools.
All cases will now go before the civil court for forfeiture or mitigation proceedings, however mitigation can only happen if hardship can be justified by the defendants.
All confiscated weapons and gear will be forfeited by the government and the two vehicles involved may be moved to civil court, if there are no grounds for mitigation, according to Conservation Officer in Charge, Lt. Mark Aguon.
According to Aguon, the department is currently awaiting legislation on a proposed fee schedule so citations can be issued against violators. Under the proposal, a fee for each fish or game carcass caught, and upon a third violation, proposes incarceration and community service.