Warderick Wells, Exuma Cays – A foreign flagged Sportfishing Vessel was observed actively fishing within the boundary of the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. On July 6th, at approximately 1300 hrs, a joint patrol team consisting of an ECLSP Park Warden and Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marine spotted and intercepted a 63’ Sportfisher approximately 3nm NNW of Warderick Wells Cay. The vessel and her crew were deep dropping, with lines in the water, upon being intercepted by the Park Patrol Craft.
The suspect vessel was then escorted to the Exuma Park Headquarters at Warderick Wells, where a full boarding and inspection procedure was carried out by the Park Warden and RBDF Marines. At the completion of the inspection; the suspected illegal fishing product and the vessel’s fishing apparatus were impounded, and turned over to the RBDF.The vessel and her 6 crew were detained at the Warderick Wells RBDF base overnight. On the morning of July 7th, the vessel and crew were transported back to Coral Harbor, New Providence, via a RBDF Patrol Vessel. The vessel and crew were turned over to the Royal Bahamas Police Force for further processing.
BNT Park Warden Brent Burrows expressed his frustration about the poaching in the Exuma Park. “As a Bahamian, and a Park Warden, It’s disheartening that we still deal with poachers on a near regular basis. Despite the park boundaries being marked on most every electronic chart, a chart-book, and cruising guides, people still take their chances; abusing the rules of the park. The story always plays out more or less the same- the crew pleads ignorance, claim they didn’t know the rules. I’m sick of that story and becoming less and less tolerant to hearing the same old tune”.
The BNT wishes to acknowledge the support of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force for this important operation. Without the assistance of RBDF this would have gotten to this point where the alleged perpetrators are now in police custody.
The Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park, established in 1959, was the world’s first protected area of it’s kind. A complete no take zone by both land and sea; the Park is known for it’s pristine beauty, outstanding anchorages, and breathtaking marine environment. The park boundaries run from Wax Cay Cut in the North, to Conch Cut in the South, and extend outwards approximately 4nm to either side of the cays. The park, managed by the Bahamas National Trust, is a strict no take zone. The Park staff maintain constant patrol operations to ensure both conservation and safety are maintained within the park boundaries. To report poaching; contact the Park Warden on VHF09, or call the Park Office at +1 (242) 601-7438.
Sportfishing vessel intercepted in the Exuma Land & Sea Park.
Sportfishing vessel intercepted by ECLSP Park Warden and Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marine.
Poachers of the Sportfishing vessel’s Anamarina.
Poachers of the Sportfishing vessel’s fishing apparatus impounded, and turned over to the RBDF.