FWC Investigator Chris Mattson was on unmarked water patrol in the area of Carysfort Eeef and Turtle Reef in North Key Largo. He was watching a vessel that had two occupants, and they were displaying a dive flag, although no one was actively diving.
Mattson watched a male occupant dump fish over the side after being spooked by the undercover vessel. The boat started to leave the area, Mattson went over to the area that the vessel left from and recovered three undersize Hog Fish and one undersize Red Grouper.
Mattson caught up to the boat to perform a resource inspection. On the boat was Johann Barata, 50, and his 15 year old son. An inspection revealed the Barata had five undersized Hog Fish, over-the-bag-limit hog fish, an undersized Red Grouper, two undersized Mutton Snapper, and two out-of-season Spiny Lobster that had been unlawfully harvested by a speargun.
Barata was arrested and transported to the Plantation Key Jail. Sea Tow arrived on scene and towed the vessel back to Homestead Bayfront Park. The 15 year old was turned over to his mother and was not charged with any violations. The man was charged accordingly.