Calif. authorities reel in suspected lobster poachers

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Posted by on March 19, 2007 at 19:06:11:

In Reply to: Marked lobsters spring trap on suspects posted by msblucow on March 19, 2007 at 09:53:10:

Two suspected lobster poachers were the catch of the day for state game wardens Monday.

Michael Hulse, 59, of Terminal Island, and crewman Ramon Sambrano, of San Pedro, were arrested at a Cerritos Channel marina as they prepared to unload about 500 pounds of lobsters illegally trapped in Santa Monica Bay, officials from the state Department of Fish and Game said.

The bust came after a three-month undercover investigation. Divers had punched tiny holes in the tails of lobsters trapped 116 feet below the ocean to mark them as forbidden quarry. About 15 of the marked lobsters were found in the men's possession, authorities said.

Both suspects were licensed to fish the California spiny lobsters. But authorities alleged the men had trapped the crustaceans from a site that has been protected since the 1930s.

"A lot of effort went into this case," said state Department of Fish and Game Lt. Dan Sforza. "I feel pretty good about how it went down."

There was no good news, however, for the seized lobsters. They were taken to a San Pedro fish market and were expected to sell for about $10 a pound, authorities said.

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