Cozumel, Q.R. — A man was arrested Thursday after a park official reported seeing someone fishing for pink snail shells along a Cozumel beach.
An official with the Marine Park of Cozumel made the complaint with local police who arrested a man after finding him with three large netted bags of conch snail shells.
The seriousness of the crime will be determined by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR), said Cristopher González Baca, head of the Commission for Protected Natural Areas (Conanp) in Cozumel, adding that it was not known exactly where he extracted them.
Pink conch snail shells are very popular with tourists, however, due to over fishing, they are now a protected species in the state of Quintana Roo. While fishing for pink conch is no longer closed to fishermen year round, there is a pink conch fishing season that runs from May 1 to October 31.
The arrested man claimed to be unaware of the protection of the snails as well as the open and closed season for fishing them.
González Baca said, “It’s unfortunate because it’s a lot of pink snail shells that he has,” adding that “The man says he does not know about the closed season, but that does not exempt him from responsibility since it is a crime classified within the federal penal code.”
“The PGR is the one that will dictate the seriousness of the crime,” he added.
Environmental officials found him with more than 200 shells distributed into three sacks.