Report Wildlife And Fish Law Violations Online
Call it joining the technology age. Floridians can now report fish and wildlife law violations online.
Anyone who has knowledge of, or suspects, a violation involving saltwater or freshwater species or wildlife can report the information to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Wildlife Alert Program through the agency Web site at MyFWC.com. Where incidents are “in progress,” respondents are directed immediately to call the Wildlife Alert hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) 24 hours a day.
“This is a convenience for those who have personal computers, and at the same time, it brings us in line with other states that are using technology to their advantage,” said Lt. Tom Haworth, law enforcement administrator for the Wildlife Alert Program.
He said reporting violations online is appropriate when someone wants to provide information about a violation that has already occurred rather than situations that require immediate attention. The program also encourages boaters to phone in reports of suspected intoxicated boaters by calling the toll-free number — “#FWC” or “*FWC” — from their cellular phones.
From its inception in 1979, one of the selling points of the Wildlife Alert Program has been the availability of rewards up to $1,000 for information that generates an arrest. With the online reporting system Haworth said, individuals still can collect a reward if they so choose, but they have to follow directions for follow-up contact information and assignment of a code color and number.
Florida’s Wildlife Alert Program remains one of the most successful programs in the nation for reporting fish and wildlife law violations. In 2003 alone, FWC law enforcement officers made almost 3,300 arrests following Wildlife Alert calls. In return, callers were paid just over $35,000 in rewards for the year.