A Texas woman illegally removed 40 Queen Conch from the ocean while accompanied by several children, according to police.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officer John Martino was on partrol at about 9:50 a.m. Thursday when he was dispatched to a Key West home, where an anonymous tipster said a group of people were in possession of Queen Conch.
Conch, the slow-moving, long-living mollusk that lives in a large flared shell, is a symbol of the relaxed life in Key West, where natives call themsevlves “Conchs” and the high school football team is the Fighting Conchs.
It is also a protected species and removing it from the sea is against the law.
Martino arrived at 1216 Watson St. to find a woman in the driveway with three plastic containers and a water hose.
Diana Candelario Fiscal-Gonzalez, of Dallas, Texas, was arrested for possession of prohibited Queen Conch and booked into the Stock Island Detention Center.
She “took responsibility for all the Queen Conch,” said FWC Officer Bobby Dube.
Martino collected the Conch, photographed them for evidence and then returned them to the ocean.
“Most of them were still alive,” Dube said.
Fiscal-Gonzalez was relased within four hours after posting $328.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen