JDF Coast Guard interdicts 82 illegal poachers
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard on Wednesday interdicted 82 illegal poachers from two fishing vessels in Jamaican waters.
The JDF said in a release today that of the 82 poachers, 59 are from the Dominican Republic and 23 are Jamaicans.
According to the release, a team from the JDF Coast Guard intercepted a vessel carrying 59 men from the Dominican Republic on board and more 7675 pounds of fish in storage in the first incident. The men were detained and the vessel seized and towed to the JDF Coast Guard Base at Cagway in Port Royal.
The JDF Coast Guard said within hours of intercepting the first vessel, its team was alerted to a second fishing vessel in the vicinity, which was experiencing mechanical difficulties. Upon boarding it to carry out repairs and an inspection, 23 Jamaicans and more than 5480 pounds of fish were discovered, the release added.
None of the men were in possession of a fishing license, which resulted in their detention and seizure of their boat. They were also escorted back to the Coast Guard base for arrest and processing.
The JDF noted that this week’s interdiction brings to 114, the number of illegal fishermen caught in Jamaican waters in just over a week.
On Sunday, March 26, 32 fishermen from the Dominican Republic were reportedly caught about 120 miles south of Jamaica and close to the Pedro Cays. The estimated value of all three seizures, which weighed more than 33,000 pounds in total, is $16.5 million.
Major Basil Jarrett, Civil Military Cooperation Officer for the JDF, said these arrests are nothing new.
“The JDF Coast Guard is the country’s only Maritime Law Enforcement agency in these offshore waters and so it is our duty to routinely patrol the extensive range of our maritime domain. These patrols have the capability to detect and the authority to arrest foreign nationals in our waters and so we have standard operating procedures for handling these cases. This typically involves us working closely with the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs a well as the maritime police and the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA).”
Jarrett also pointed to the presence of the newly acquired JDF boats as a significant factor in the Force’s ability to track and interdict illegal fishermen. “These vessels are invaluable”, he says, “as they greatly extend the range and scope of our patrol capabilities and increase our ability to stop contraband and other illegal activities in our waters”.