Crazy things happen in the Florida Keys
A North Palm Beach man was cited on a number of conservation violations in the Florida Keys after a Monroe County deputy says he found him with an undersized fish that was shot with a spear gun.
Police say Matthew Vreeland, 28, shot a hogfish on the gulf side of Lower Matecumbe Key, around mile marker 74. Spearfishing is illegal in the Keys from Long Key, which begins at mile marker 65.5, to the Miami-Dade County line.
Vreeland, who was diving from his personal watercraft, also did not have a dive flag or fishing license, according to a sheriff’s office press release. Also, the registration numbers on his vessel “were made up,” he told Deputy Garrett Brag, according to the release.
Sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt said Vreeland told Bragg he added a bogus registration number because he was in a hurry to go on vacation in the Keys.
Bragg stated in his report that he noticed the hogfish, a popular South Florida food fish, in a blue netted bag tied to the personal watercraft. The fish measured 9.5 inches, but must be at least 16 inches to keep.
The deputy issued notices to appear in court for the violations, Linhardt said.