Florida Keys

They came to the Keys to fish. But their catch was illegal, police say

Three men from the mainland were caught Saturday with these undersized mutton snapper.
Three men from the mainland were caught Saturday with these undersized mutton snapper. Monroe County Sheriff's Office

Three Florida men from the mainland were cited Saturday after police said they were caught with six undersized mutton snapper and one blue tang fish.

Aldrick Carlvert Gardiner, 25, and Clifton Maurice Black, 39, both of Pembroke Pines, and Damekio Ennis Been, 24, of Miramar, were all given two citations for possessing illegally harvested fish.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Monroe County Sheriff's Office

A Monroe sheriff’s deputy was making routine checks on the Channel Two Bridge at mile marker 73 in Islamorada at about 10:30 a.m. when he asked to see the men’s cooler. Inside were six undersized mutton snapper and one dead blue tang.

The largest of the mutton snapper measured 13 inches long. Harvested mutton snapper must be at least 18 inches long.

Also inside the cooler was a dead blue tang. If removed from the water, blue tangs, a popular fish in the saltwater aquarium trade, must be kept alive.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Monroe County Sheriff's Office

The men said they couldn’t remember who caught which mutton snapper but said they thought they were yellowtail snapper, which must be 12 inches long to harvest. Been admitted to catching the blue tang.

All three men, who had fishing licenses, were given notices to appear in court.

Gwen Filosa covers Key West and the Lower Florida Keys for FLKeysNews.com and the Miami Herald and lives in Key West. She was part of the staff at the New Orleans Times-Picayune that in 2005 won two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. She graduated from Indiana University.
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