CDFG Press Release: California Outdoors Q&As

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Posted by DFG on December 05, 2008 at 14:44:31:

Question: I was just reading where the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) caught some lobster poachers and that all of their dive gear used in the crimes were seized. This started me thinking - what happens to all of the fishing and diving and hunting gear that is seized from illegal operations? Is there an auction during the year to make money from the sale of this equipment for the DFG? If so, please let me know the dates and places. (Rich B.)

Answer: According to Lt. Eric Kord of the patrol boat Thresher, once the case is adjudicated, the judge decides to have the gear either returned to the defendants or forfeited to the DFG. If the judge forfeits the gear to the DFG, then there are two options: If the gear is in poor condition and not safe to use, then it is destroyed; if it is in good condition, the dive gear is transferred to the head of our dive program, who then redistributes the gear to our certified dive team members (scientists and game wardens) in need of equipment.

For all other gear confiscated and ordered by judges not be returned to defendants, the DFG basically has three options: 1) Put the gear into use, 2) Destroy it, or 3) Sell it at a public auction.

Confiscated fishing gear is usually donated to our "Fishing in the City" or "California Fishing Passport" programs for use by the public during promotional fishing events. All confiscated firearms not returned by the courts are ordered by law to be destroyed unless they have collector value, in which case they may be donated to a museum or educational facility for display. Public auctions for confiscated gear are not frequently held, but when they are the DFG is required to provide public notice through local newspapers.

Question: A buddy of mine was caught recently with a small black sea bass. What is the current fine for these fish? Will he be looking at any jail time? (Jimmy L.)

Answer: The courts have the responsibility to administer fines and many courts send a notice regarding the fine in the mail. A black sea bass violation would generally be cited as a misdemeanor under section 12002 of the Fish and Game Code. The fine prescribed under this section provides for a fine of not more than $1,000 and/or six months in the county jail. All bails and penalties can be found on our Web site at www.dfg.ca.gov/enforcement/docs/bail-and-penalties.pdf. However, be aware that the bail schedule is only a guideline or recommendation. The judge has the final say of what the fine shall be.

Question: My husband and I have sturgeon cards, but we neither fished for sturgeon nor caught any accidentally. Are we still required to mail them to the DFG? (Kathie M.)

Answer: Yes, you both are required by law to still mail them to DFG by Jan. 31, 2009 regardless of whether or not you fished for or caught sturgeon.

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