A pair of Florida men face two misdemeanor fishing charges for reportedly fishing within Dry Tortugas National Park on Tuesday -- a day the federal government was still shut down.
Jailed were James Mooneyham, 48, of Madiera Beach, and James Redden, 43, of Cape Coral.
The FWC says one of the reasons for the poaching venture is that the pair thought no one would be monitoring the Federal Vessel Monitoring System due to the government shutdown.
This is what happened, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission:
Around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, officers aboard the FWC patrol boat Peter Gladding (Glen Way, Martin Messier, Raul Pena-Lopez and Lt. Josh Peters) saw a commercial fishing vessel on the Federal Vessel Monitoring System anchored inside the North Ecological Reserve of the Dry Tortugas.
The system showed the vessel's three-day track line, indicating it left the Madiera Beach area Oct. 11 and headed south toward the North Ecological Reserve. The boat entered the reserve around 1 p.m. Sunday.
With other FWC officers relaying the vessel's positions via satellite phone, the crew of the Peter Gladding launched from Key West to intercept the boat inside the North Ecological Reserve. It succeeded.
The boat was found at the coordinates relayed by satellite phone from the vessel monitoring system. More....