Florida Keys

Commercial lobster boats can have undersized lobster onboard. But not this many, police said

A Keys fisherman was jailed Wednesday after police said his commercial boat, called “That’s Right,” had more undersized lobsters than he was allowed to keep on his boat temporarily.

Kent Alexander Quinn Downs, 33, of Marathon, was arrested on a felony charge of destroying evidence, and misdemeanor charges of interference with an officer and 11 counts of possession of undersized lobster.

Quinn Downs on Thursday remained at the Marathon jail without bond. He has a court date set for Oct. 24.

At about 1:45 p.m., a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer Joshua Peters was patrolling the East Bahia Honda Channel off Big Pine Key and stopped the lobster boat for a marine inspection.

Peters said he then spotted a man dumping half a basket full of undersized spiny lobster into the water, according to the arrest report.

Commercial vessels are allowed to keep 50 undersized lobsters plus one for each trap onboard, as long as they keep them in a shaded, continuously circulating live well.

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The shorts, though, must be released alive and may not be sold.

That means “That’s Right” was allowed to have 212 undersized lobsters.

Quinn Downs admitted there were about 15 undersized lobsters in the basket he dumped into the water and that he did it when he saw the FWC’s blue lights, the arrest report states.

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Peters decided Quinn Downs had 11 more undersized lobsters than the law allows.

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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