A Key West commercial fisherman found with unregistered lobster traps was arrested Saturday on multiple resource-violation counts, state marine officers report.
Pablo Enrique Anaya-Rodriquez, 49, was released from the Monroe County jail Monday after posting $102,000 bond.
FWC officers stopped the commercial boat My Twins as it headed out during the trap "soak" period before the regular lobster season.
Anaya-Rodriquez was charged with 53 counts of "actively fishing commercial lobster traps without having crawfish license tags attached to his traps," according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
State-issued trap tags are required as part of a program to limit the number of wooden traps used to catch lobster in Florida.
"When people operate illegally, it not only harms the resources but it takes business away from lawful commercial fishermen," Capt. David Dipre said from the FWC office in Marathon.
Two Stock Island men were charged with lobster-poaching charges Saturday at the Boca Chica Bridge in the Lower Keys.
Andrey Fattakhov, 33, and Maxim Staroverov, 30, face counts including having speared and undersize lobster, possessing wrung tails in a closed season, and not having fishing licenses. They were released from county jail earlier this week after posting bonds of $21,000.
When a witness reported possible illegal lobstering at the bridge, FWC Lt. Roy Payne spotted two men snorkeling without a required diver-down flag. He followed them as they left the water while carrying a black mesh bag. They started to cross the bridge when Payne called for them to stop.
"However they ignored his commands and kept walking," information officer Bobby Dube said.
Payne ran to the suspects and saw the bag held lobster. "He took it from their possession immediately to avoid it from being tossed" off the bridge, Dube said.
Twelve speared lobster, seven of them undersized, and a whole stone crab were recovered.