Crime

15 illegal Keys lobster land mainland man in jail

These are the 15 illegal lobster the FWC says the suspect had.
These are the 15 illegal lobster the FWC says the suspect had.

A Pembroke Pines man who went fishing Monday caught 47 misdemeanors for 15 undersized lobsters he speared around mile maker 72 oceanside, state marine officers say.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says Investigator Danielle Munkelt and Officer Adam Garrison were in plain clothes on water patrol in an unmarked vessel on the bayside of the west end of the Channel 5 Bridge in Islamorada when they saw Derek Gene Manzi, 30, in the water just before 5 p.m. wearing a mask, snorkel and fins.

He was not displaying a dive flag, agency information officer Bobby Dube said, which prompted Munkelt and Garrison to approach Manzi and ask what was in a blue mesh bag nearby. Inside were 15 spiny lobster and two live rocks, Dube said, and all 15 lobsters showed signs of being speared while 13 were undersized.

It’s illegal to spear lobster and this is the closed lobster season. Live rock is basically pieces of coral that have broken off from the reef and attached themselves to rocks, and are used in saltwater aquariums.

Manzi was arrested, taken to the Marathon jail and released Tuesday on $15,416 bond. He was handed multiple charges for harvesting spiny lobster out of season, harvesting spiny lobster by spearing them, spearfishing in an off-limits area of the Upper Keys, possession of undersized spiny lobster, not having a lobster measuring device and possession of live rock. He was also ticketed for not having a dive flag.

The two-day lobster mini-season is July 26 and 27. The regular eight-month lobster season opens Aug. 6.

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