A week after they were apprehended by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, 4 Dominican fishermen were charged before the courts in New Providence for poaching in Bahamian waters.Leidy Trinidad, Pedio Cabera, Hector Ventura and Randis Tabarez all appeared before Magistrate Volt Evans in Court #6 and were charged with:
(1) Illegal Fishing, in that they unlawfully took fish within the exclusive fishing zone.
(2) The possession of Nassau Grouper, in that they were found in possession of the processed named fish.
All the men pleaded guilty. Trinidad, Cabera, and Ventura were fined twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) or 8 months in jail, and Tabarez was fined ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or 4 months in jail. The vessel was seized and the fisheries products were confiscated. They Dominican poachers were all remanded in custody at the Department of Correctional Services.
HMBS Durward Knowles, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Omarv Saunders, apprehended the 50-ft Dominican fishing vessel, Brailyn on the Great Bahama Bank on June 16th with the 4 Dominican fishermen, along with a quantity of scaled fish on board.
An additional 20 Dominican fishermen were also apprehended by Cuban authorities after Defence Force officials notified Cuban border authorities of the Dominicans fleeing to Cuban waters. HMBS Durward Knowles had also arrested 6 Dominican poachers aboard three skiffs in the area of Cay Santo Domingo in September of last year.
The 6 Dominicans were sentenced to 18 months at the Department of Correctional Services for engaging in foreign fishing within the Exclusive Economic Zone of The Bahamas. They were also charged with possession of prohibited apparatus for fishing purposes and were sentenced to 6 months at the Department of Correctional Services.
The Royal Bahamas Defence Force continues to protect the territorial integrity of The Bahamas.