|Poachers Threaten Monterey’s Endangered Black Abalone|
Posted by CDFG Press Release on June 03, 2009 at 12:41:59:|
California Department of Fish and Game News Release
NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 2, 2009
Contact: Patrick Foy, Department of Fish and Game, (916) 651-2084
Poachers Threaten Monterey’s Endangered Black Abalone
California game wardens recently made two new arrests in a series of black abalone poaching cases in Monterey County. Jerry Jones, 37, of Monterey, and Terry Callahan, 47, of Seaside were arrested by the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) on May 13 after being found in possession of 51 black abalone from Point Lobos State Park. Poaching charges against the two men are pending.
Commercial fishing for black abalone was banned in 1993. According to Fish and Game Code Section 5521.5(b), possession of 12 or more abalone is suitable evidence that the individual in possession intends to use the abalone for commercial purposes. Additionally, on February 13 of this year, black abalone were formally granted endangered status by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Fisheries Service.
Despite the federally endangered status of the abalone, said Lt. Don Kelly of DFG’s Law Enforcement Division, wardens are seeing poaching operations on a much greater scale than in the past. “Poachers are taking in excess of 90 or 100 abalone at times,” Kelly said. “Amazingly, many of these poachers have previous convictions. These criminals are knowingly breaking the law.”
Monterey County abalone have long been declining in number due to a bacterial condition called wasting disease, as well as a historical precedent of overfishing in the area. But today, poaching is the greatest threat to the black abalone population. The animals typically sell for $50 to $100 each on the black market.
In addition to the abalone taken and killed for sale, others are mortally injured by knives and screwdrivers in failed attempts to pry them off the rocks. Whenever possible, wardens return confiscated abalone to the waters where they were taken, but often, the injuries prove to be fatal.
In addition to the illegal operation discovered on May 13, other notably large cases include:
Citizens who witness the poaching of abalone or any related offenses are asked to call the DFG 24-hour CalTIP line at (888) 334-2258.
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