Abalone citations reach 59 in a day

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Posted by on June 30, 2005 at 22:55:01:

An abalone checkpoint held Sunday by the Department of Fish and Game resulted in more violations than usual.

"It was a very busy day," Lt. John Wilcox said, referring to a checkpoint held on Highway 20 at Chamberlain Creek that resulted in 59 citations and 49 verbal warnings. "We have run them here in the past, but this year was by far the very busiest," he said.

More violations were detected at this checkpoint than at any others in the county in the last several years, he said.

"For some reason, we had a real high ratio of violations per vehicle at this checkpoint this year," Wilcox said. Last year at this same location, the number of violations reached the mid 20s, he said. " Big, big, change this year, and I can't give you an answer as to why," he said.

"We checked 210 vehicles," he said, noting vehicles get pre-screened up the road from the checkpoint. Anyone who hadn't been diving was allowed to drive on; those who had were required to stop.

"It (the checkpoint) was supposed to run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., but I extended the length of it. We went until 3 p.m. ... We probably could have kept going, but everyone was worn out," Wilcox said.

Of the 59 citations given, 12 were for being over the legal limit. The legal limit for abalone take is three per person, per trip and no more than 24 per person per year.

Some people were over by as many as 12 abalone, according to Wilcox.

Three citations were given for undersized abalone. In order to legally take an abalone, it has to be a minimum of 7 inches in length, Wilcox said.

Four citations were for unlawful alteration of abalone report cards, and 22 citations were written for other card violations, such as missing information or not filling out the cards at all.

"The way we track your 24 abalone throughout the year is to track it on a report card. Each time you take an abalone you fill out the date, location, etc. in one of the spots on the card," Wilcox explained.

Wilcox said they also issued citations to people in possession of too many salmon or too many crab -- and algae. The possession limit for salmon is two fish per person, per trip, he said. For crab, the legal limit is 10 crabs per person, per trip.

Another person had harvested sea palm, a type of algae that is a prohibited take species, he said.

"We also got a vehicle that started to go into the checkpoint and then went left instead of right ... went back out on the road and left. We had a pursuit vehicle standing by with the keys in the ignition, so the warden went after him, caught up to him, and pulled him over two miles down the road. The person complied and pulled over. He had 12 abalone, 18 dungeness crab, and a silver salmon, which is prohibited," Wilcox said.

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