Wardens issue 54 citations at abalone checkpoints

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Posted by Chris on June 18, 2004 at 10:34:06:

Wardens issued 54 citations at abalone checkpoints in Mendocino and Sonoma counties during recent low tides, with 359 vehicles pulled over at the Sonoma checkpoint and 184 in Mendocino. Two men with 34 abalone were jailed in Mendocino, and another group of five with 19 abalone over the limit face $40,000 fines - if a tough judge winds up with the case.

Most other violations involved failure to fill out abalone punch cards, or altering abalone punch cards, although overlimits, undersize shellfish and abalone removed from the shell were also in the mix.

"We had people throwing abalone out of the window on the way to the checkpoint," said Lt. Steve Riske.

Riske added one man finally admitted tossing abalone out his car window. The warden took a look up the road and retrieved several abalone, then started writing a citation for violations including removing abalone from the shell. "Wait a minute! My abalone was not out of the shell!" the man asserted. "Mine was in the red bag." Sure enough, wardens backtracked and found abalone in a red bag.

The abalone season closes July 1, then opens again Aug. 1 and continues through November.

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