Navy, Lobster, San Clemente


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Posted by RogerC on February 28, 2003 at 08:14:05:

From today's daily breeze. Must be something to do with the orange alert, lobster are getting called up. I've heard about this several places, but this is the only mention I've seen of Garibaldi, not sure what that part of the story is. Pretty surprised the fine is so light (but I always am). Fishing without a licence is $250. Stealing traps, poaching shorts in closed area, perhaps using garibaldi for bait, is only $1000?

Men receive probation for lobster poaching

COURT: Petty officer and former Navy man given fines and community service after Catalina jury convicts.

By Denise Nix
DAILY BREEZE

Two men convicted of lobster poaching in a protected area near San Clemente Island were each ordered Thursday to pay $1,000 in fines and perform 200 hours of community service.

Michael Lee Brydge, 38, a Navy petty officer, and Timothy Norris, 42, a former chief petty officer, were convicted by a jury at the Catalina Courthouse earlier this month of illegally trapping undersized lobsters, cutting up protected garibaldi, the state?s official marine fish, and other crimes.

The two were caught in January 2000 in a restricted naval zone near the island, one in the Channel Island chain and located about 70 miles off the coast of San Diego.

No one is supposed to fish in the area, except for the very few who have permission, given by lottery, according to Deputy District Attorney Christopher Frisco.

Brydge and Norris took a boat from the Navy Reservation and, using four stolen traps, fished for about two hours ? capturing about 65 lobsters, Frisco said.

They were spotted by Navy police, who notified the U.S. Department of Fish and Game.

Officers from the department found the lobsters separated from their tails ? a tactic used to disguise how big the crustaceans really are, Frisco said.

Dozens more lobsters were found in a freezer at the base, he added.

Frisco said he didn?t know if Brydge and Norris were selling the lobsters.

The men could have received jail time, but they were given three years? probation and ordered to pay the fines: $100 each to Rocky Cordon, the commercial fisherman who owned the stolen traps, and $900 to the Department of Fish and Game.

Frisco said Judge Peter J. Mirich in San Pedro noted that the defendants had no prior criminal records and clean service records in giving them probation, but he gave them a stern warning that their actions were serious. ?I think justice was served and, if anything, this proves that the people of the state of California take transgressions against wildlife very seriously,? Frisco said.

Frisco said he believes that other naval officers have been suspected of stealing traps for a long time, and said Cordon testified during trial that the only traps ever disturbed of those around the island are those in the reserve. The attorney representing Brydge and Norris could not be reached for comment, but he told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month that his clients were not the ones that set up the traps, and that they were simply removing them under orders from the Navy to keep the waters around the island clear.



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