|Firefighters investigated in poaching|
Posted by Max Bottomtime on October 30, 2008 at 15:32:08:|
Firefighters investigated in poaching
The firefighters, whose names were not released, were each cited for possession of one undersized lobster, according to Jordan Traverso, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Game. One of the men was also cited for not having a fishing license and received a warning for not having a lobster card.
Authorities have not yet determined whether the firefighters will be charged with an infraction or a misdemeanor, Traverso said.
Local Fish and Game Department officials have not yet filed a report and details remained vague as authorities continue to probe the incident, which occurred sometime within the last two weeks, according to Traverso.
It was unclear whether the firefighters were on patrol boats and how many lobsters were found on board. It was also unclear whether the firefighters had removed the lobsters from traps placed by local fishermen.
The Los Angeles Fire Department has launched an internal investigation into the matter, according to LAFD Capt. Armando Hogan. Officials declined to say whether the firefighters remained on duty during the investigation, citing employee confidentiality laws.
"The Fire Department is aware of this particular incident and we are investigating the matter thoroughly," Hogan said.
"We are working with state Fish and Game to come up with a resolution as we continue to gather all the information."
The alleged poaching is reminiscent of the now-infamous "Lobstergate" case at the Port of Long Beach, where four police officers from the port's security unit allegedly snatched lobsters from local traps during a series of unpermitted scuba dives during the fall of 2003.
The officers were reprimanded and reassigned. A jury later awarded $4.1 million to three other Long Beach police officers who claimed they were retaliated against for reporting their colleagues.
It was unclear how many law enforcement officials and firefighters have been cited for poaching lobsters because the Department of Fish and Game does not keep such records, Traverso said.
"I can tell you that it is not the first time that a law enforcement officer has been cited for regulation violations," she said.
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