Fort Ross: Abalone divers arrested on coast

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Posted by on June 29, 2005 at 00:21:45:

3 men to be charged with violating Fish and Game laws after surveillance

Three men were arrested Friday by game wardens who reported finding 24 abalone in their car, well above the daily limit of three per person.

Their car was stopped at 2 a.m. on Highway 1 near Fort Ross by state Department of Fish and Game officers, capping a two-month investigation.

Steve Martarano, a spokesman for Fish and Game, said the men had been under surveillance since May, when wardens and state Parks and Recreation officers saw them making frequent diving trips to the coast.

The men were arrested on suspicion of violating Fish and Game laws, which carries fines ranging from $15,000 to $40,000 per charge, and suspicion of conspiracy.

They were identified as Chinh Quan Le, 52, and Thoai Quan Hoang Le, 26, both of Oakland, and Van Dom Treinh, 43, whose last known address was in British Columbia.

Game wardens are expected to be on the coast today, inspecting for violations of abalone regulations.

The Highway 1 checkpoint, announced earlier this week, will coincide with low tides, which are a prime time for abalone collecting, according to the state Department of Fish and Game.

A fishing license and an abalone permit report card are required to take abalone. Commercial harvesting is illegal.

The abalone bag limit is three a day or in possession, with a minimum size of 7 inches for red abalone.

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