ISLAMORADA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say two Tennessee men were caught harvesting corals with a hammer and chisels in protected waters in the Florida Keys.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Robert Dube says the father and son from Nashville, Tenn., were arrested Friday after snorkelers reported seeing them take corals from a reef in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Dube says authorities found a cooler filled with hard and stony corals on the men’s boat. It is illegal to take anything from the protected area near Alligator Reef Lighthouse without special permits.
Dube tells The Key West Citizen (http://bit.ly/vZHTBS ) that the men told investigators they wanted the coral for their home aquarium. Dube says there’s a high black market demand for live coral for aquariums.
The men face second-degree misdemeanor charges.
Information from: The Key West Citizen, http://www.keysnews.com
Source: Associated Press