The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seized about 6,000 pounds of shrimp from the 68-foot fishing vessel Ronald E. near the Dry Tortugas Shrimp Sanctuary Preservation Area earlier this month, the Guard said.
Crews aboard the Coast Guard cutter Raymond Evans and a NOAA joint boarding team saw the crew of the Ronald E. fishing inside the marine sanctuary and was boarded. The vessel’s crew was cited Jan. 12 for illegally fishing inside a national marine sanctuary and for safety violations.
Fishing within federally protected waters is illegal. The Dry Tortugas are about 70 miles from Key West.
A spokeswoman said the Coast Guard isn’t releasing the home port of the Robert E. or who owns it because it’s an active investigation.
Said Capt. Jeffery Janzsen, commander of Coast Guard Sector Key West: “Within the Florida Keys, we take protecting the national marine sanctuary very seriously. Boaters and fishermen should familiarize themselves with the boundaries of the sanctuary to make sure they are complying with federal law.”
The “evidence package” for the seizure has been forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which will determine if a formal notice of violation will be issued.