Illegal lobster, conch confiscated by Martin County deputies from boats returning from Bahamas

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Martin County deputies are investigating after two boats returning from the Bahamas were found with 120 illegal lobster tails and 14 queen conch on board in the St. Lucie Inlet.

While on a routine boat patrol Thursday night, Marine Unit Deputy Michael Joseph stopped two boats in the Inlet. Both captains said they were coming back from the West End, Grand Bahama Island.

Joseph had the two boats go to Sandsprit Park for a vessel inspection.

At the park, Marine Deputy Travis Dykes and K-9 Deputy Pete Peterson began an inspection on the boats and found lobster tails, many of them undersized, hidden beneath ice blocks on one boat.

On the second boat, deputies found 14 queen conch, also hidden.

The captains admitted to possessing the illegal haul, knowing that the quantity far exceeded what is allowed by law. Queen conch is illegal to possess in Florida waters.

The lobster tails and conch were turned over to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for further investigation. 

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