A Florida resident was arrested over the weekend after beachgoers observed him allegedly riding a sea turtle, and responding authorities discovered he had illegally speared an undersized nurse shark.
Carlos Argen Hernandez, 31, was booked on Sunday into Monroe County Jail, before being released on a $4,700 bond, according to Outdoor Hub. Hernandez was arrested after beachgoers near Conch Key contacted authorities, having recorded video of him harassing a sea turtle. Witnesses stated that Hernandez jumped in the water and began wrestling with a large turtle, eventually managing to gain the upper hand and attempting to ride the animal before bringing it ashore, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Captain David Dipre.
“He was with his girlfriend and had jumped in the water and brought up a sea turtle,” Dipre related. “He took it to shore. He had it on the rocks and was taking pictures with it. I don’t know if his intent was to keep it or just take pictures of it.”
Florida man molests sea turtle, spears shark, goes to jail http://t.co/O6M6fyJd6f pic.twitter.com/IQM97KOct9
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 17, 2015
The witness who videotaped Hernandez called 911, and FWC officers who responded to the scene found him to be in possession of an illegally harvested nurse shark, as well as a quantity of fish that had been fileted. As Keys News points out, anglers can keep one nurse shark over 54-inches-long per day, provided that it has not been speared. It is illegal in parts of Monroe County to spear fish, and harvested fish must be kept whole while anglers are still fishing. Hernandez was charged with felony molesting a sea turtle, possessing an undersized nurse shark, spearing a nurse shark, and failure to keep fish in whole condition.
— The Sub2o (@thesub2o) July 12, 2015
Earlier this year, the World Wildlife Fund released a video of the Great Barrier Reef filmed from the back of a sea turtle. As the Inquisitr previously reported, the video was produced in an attempt to raise awareness in regards to the reef’s decline. The clip was shot using a GoPro camera affixed to the turtle’s back as it swam amid the UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has seen a number of unexplained sea turtle strandings and deaths in recent years.
Following Hernandez’s arrest, the sea turtle was released safely back into the ocean, though the exact species wasn’t identified.
[Photo by Uriel Sinai / Getty Images]