The Bahamas National Trust calls for greater prosecution of poachers after an American couple is captured in a protected park – Eye Witness News

The Bahamas, Nassau-The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) is calling on police and courts to ensure that those guilty of poaching in national parks face fines and consequences. future.

BNT’s comments address a recent incident involving an American couple arrested by BNT at Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP) on July 1 after alleged poaching. BNT said in a statement that inspections of the ship revealed unseasonable spiny lobsters and crayfish on board.

“The suspicious poachers were briefed on their violations and taken to Warderick Wells for further questions and handling,” the statement read.

“It was almost sunset at the time of processing. Due to safety concerns, BNT executives chose not to transport suspected poachers to Nassau at night. In addition, there is no suitable storage facility in the park. So he allowed the suspect to return to the ship and told him that the problem would be dealt with further in the morning.

“We also issued a harsh warning that if they left the country, they would be tracked under the Lacey Act of the United States. The Lacey Act violates the Wildlife Act of other countries by the US government. It is a U.S. law that allows persecution of individuals who do. This action will impose more serious fines and penalties for their violations. BNT discourages the accused from leaving the park. I expected it to be enough to get it done. Unfortunately, I found that the suspect left the park around 5 o’clock the next morning, “BNT said.

He also noted that he immediately contacted members of the Bahamas Wildlife Enforcement Network (BahWEN) and warned Bahamas and US authorities about the vessel and stakeholders.

The BNT statement goes on to say: “I posted a photo of the suspect’s ship on social media and asked for information about the ship and the whereabouts of the crew. Members of the boat community reported seeing the ship and were welcomed by the U.S. Coast Guard. BNT was later contacted by a suspect who was four miles off the coast of Grand Bahamas at this time.

“We advised them to move to the nearest police station. BNT later met with the police in Grand Bahama, provided more information, and the evidence confiscated during the arrest was handed over to the police. I confirmed that. “

BNT said Monday night that the suspect was advised to be released from police detention until further investigations were conducted.

The ship and its crew were observed leaving the dock yesterday.

“Despite repeated requests from BNT, police refused to ask BNT if they intend to prosecute the suspects after further investigation, or if they are free to leave the country. “BNT said.

According to police yesterday, the couple were released without charge.

BNT said he was completely disappointed with this result.

“It’s often disappointing to see these park breaches become chaotic, so we confirm these cases to police and courts by imposing fines and effects as permitted by BNT law. We need to call on you to do so, “the statement said. ..

“By not imposing fines on poachers and other people who violate park regulations, we feel that this sends a false message and encourages future poaching. We commit these crimes. It must be pointed out that we take our natural resources very seriously.

“We also need to encourage all visitors not only to respect the rules and regulations of the park, but also to play their part in reporting cases of illegal activity observed in the park. ECLSP is a very special place and the oldest land and sea park in the world. We have a duty to protect this amazing resource and pay worthy respect to it, “says BNT.

In addition, in collaboration with the Attorney General’s Office and the Ministry of Justice, all national park bylaws have been finalized, empowering BNT observers in national parks, where observers violate the park.

BNT said on July 4 that it had been notified that the articles of incorporation had been formally promulgated in Bahamian law.

The statement added: “BNT acknowledges that there have been some failures during the arrest and processing of the suspect and will adequately point out how to better manage these situations in the future. The results of this situation are satisfactory. Although not, BNT is still very committed to protecting national parks and will double its enforcement and park patrol efforts. “ The Bahamas National Trust calls for greater prosecution of poachers after an American couple is captured in a protected park – Eye Witness News

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