A California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) warden has cited a southern California man for the illegal take of a giant (black) sea bass.
Scott Andrew Carlton, 30, of Corona Del Mar was spear fishing on Friday night at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Salt Creek Beach at Dana Point in Orange County when he speared a state-protected giant sea bass, commonly called a black sea bass. A concerned citizen took a photo of the man and his catch, then notified a nearby CHP officer. The CHP detained Carlton, and notified DFG dispatch. Warden Justin Sandvig arrived and cited Carlton, who claimed ignorance of the law. Take of giant sea bass is a misdemeanor.
Prior to the 1950s, large numbers of giant (black) sea bass could be found in the waters off of southern California, but most of these large creatures were harvested for their value as photographic trophies. Known for their docile behavior, the slow-moving black sea bass resides mostly near the shoreline in deep rocky environments and can grow up to 500 pounds and seven feet long.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse, especially when poaching state-protected species, said Capt. Dan Sforza of DFG's Law Enforcement Division. Giant (black) sea bass are cherished by many ocean enthusiasts because of their size and docile nature.
For full article please see http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/sea-bass-poacher/.
California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) wardens have arrested two repeat abalone poachers for poaching and possession of abalone for sale on the black market.
Paul Chak Po Mak, 61, and Samuel Xing Sin, 41, both of Oakland, have been charged with poaching a total of 84 abalone for commercial purposes between April 23 and May 21. The two were arrested by DFG's Special Operations Unit (SOU) after they were observed taking large over-limits of abalone during an intensive investigation dubbed Operation Scoop and Run.
Wardens served search and arrest warrants on the suspect's homes on May 24 and seized evidence including abalone report cards and dive gear. Mak was charged with the illegal take of 52 abalone and Sin was charged with the illegal take of 32 abalone.
Wardens allege the two men also high-graded abalone, meaning they knowingly harvested far more than their daily limit of three, with the intention of taking only the largest. One seized abalone measured 10¾ inches across, which is an extremely large abalone.
Both suspects were transported and booked into Mendocino County Jail. Additional pending charges include possession of abalone and intention to sell on the black market.
In addition to previous abalone poaching convictions, Sin has a currently pending case related to abalone poaching and sales in Mendocino County. Mak is currently on probation in Sonoma County for abalone-related convictions.
Abalone typically sell for up to $100 each on the black market, and some of the bigger abalone will fetch much more.
"Profit remains the primary motive for abalone poachers," said DFG Capt. Bob Farrell, who oversees the SOU. "Profits from black market abalone sales easily cover the hard expenses poachers expend for travel and equipment. It is clear - and disappointing - that penalties from prior convictions failed to deter either of these men."
For full article please see http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/wardens-arrest-two-repeat-abalone-poachers/.
A Riverside County man was fined more than $20,000 and sentenced to a week in jail for poaching lobsters inside a marine protected area (MPA). This is the first resource crime conviction since the MPAs off the Southern California coast went into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
Marbel A. Para, 30, of Romoland pled guilty in Orange County Court on May 4 for violating Fish and Game Code 12013, which stipulates a minimum $5,000 fine for anyone who takes or possesses more than three times the daily bag limit of lobsters.
"This diver intentionally took a huge overlimit of lobster with no regard for the current laws," said Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Assistant Chief Paul Hamdorf. "He didn't follow any fish and game laws, including the take restrictions within an MPA."
After midnight on Jan. 15, DFG wardens found Para and a companion with 47 California spiny lobsters in their possession. In addition to illegally taking the lobsters from an MPA, the divers were well over the legal possession limit of seven lobsters per diver, and all but five of the lobsters were undersized. Para claimed that all the lobsters were his and his companion was not cited.
"This was a big case, but unfortunately it wasn't the biggest even in the last 12 months. Any time you have something that has significant monetary value, there will be a small group that will exploit it, regardless of what the law says," said Hamdorf.
DFG has been working closely with the Orange County District Attorneys Office to combat resource crimes in the county. Para was ultimately sentenced to three years probation, seven days in Orange County jail and a $5,000 fine for the DFG violation. Additional fees and penalties pushed the total fines to more than $20,000. He also had to forfeit all his SCUBA equipment and was given a stay away order from the Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve.
For full article please see http://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/dfg-and-orange-county-successfully-prosecute-first-mpa-violation/.