November 21, 2018

Aquarium suppliers face illegal harvesting charges

The owners of a Pompano Beach-based wholesale aquarium supply company conspired with Florida Keys divers to illegally harvest juvenile nurse sharks and other protected fish from Monroe County waters, according to a federal indictment.

Walter and Lila Bloecker of Aquatic Trading Co., which imports and sells ornamental fish, corals and other aquarium supplies, were indicated on charges of conspiracy and illegally purchasing and selling protected fish and sharks. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of five years’ prison.

The company also is charged in the indictment, and faces up to $500,000 in combined fines.

Prosecutors allege that while Walter Bloecker