PLANTATION KEY, August 28, 2019 – A six-person jury needed only about 30 minutes to convict a Naples man of possessing far more (and undersized) fish than allowed under law.
Humberto Hernandez, 39, was convicted on August 22 of possessing undersized yellowtail snapper, undersized lane snapper and undersized mutton snapper; and possessing snapper over the aggregate bag limit. Assistant State Attorney Taylor Loe represented the state. The case was before Monroe County Judge Sharon Hamilton.
When sentenced, Hernandez faces a penalty of up to 60 days in jail for each conviction and a fine up to $500 for each conviction; sentencing likely is in early September.
On August 5, 2018, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers on boat patrol near Indian Key Fill in Islamorada saw Hernandez and another man fileting fish off the back of their boat, which was tied up to the mangroves. The officers pulled aside to do a resource and safety check, and one of them recalled inspecting the boat earlier in the day, finding an undersized lane snapper aboard it. He had given the three men aboard a verbal warning about harvesting undersized fish.
During this second inspection, the two officers approached the boat (the third man aboard earlier was on the shoreline) and asked the men to put their fish into the FWC’s bucket so the officers could inspect them
The officers counted 18 undersized mutton snapper, 13 undersized lane snapper and two undersized yellowtail snapper. They then boarded the men’s boat and found an additional 10 undersized lane snapper. Hernandez and the other two men were taken into custody for the undersized fish, as well as for possessing more than 10 snapper each (the aggregate bag limit for snapper is 10 no matter what kind of snapper they are).
The cases against the other two men, Yankiel Perez Valdez, 33, of Miami and Leonel Ramon Bouza Roura, 46, of Hialeah, are pending.