Re: Poachers Sentenced for Trafficking Abalone in Bay Area

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Posted by Stephen Benavides on May 18, 2011 at 17:37:49:

In Reply to: Poachers Sentenced for Trafficking Abalone in Bay Area posted by CDFG News Release on May 12, 2011 at 16:01:36:

Unfortunately, the poachers appear to be winning the battle for the north coast. Capt. Riske, a North Coast warden, reported to the recreational abalone advisory committee that poaching has continued to increase and violators are little deterred by threats of jail, loss of fishing privileges, or fines. Despite what you read in the story, the district attorney in Sonoma and Mendocino County does not place much emphasis on Fish and game violations. Prosecutors are reluctant to expend significant resources on abalone cases. Even when large fines are levied they are seldom collected because the perpetrators claim they are indigent or the county simply lacks the personnel to chase them down and make them pay. With the jails full of violent offenders is not likely to see some definite jail time for first or second violations.

The recession has not helped deter the Raiders of the resource. you may have noted recently a poacher who was arrested three times in two weeks and two of those arrests were felony arrests for sport to commercial poaching of abalone. You must understand there is an extremely strong impetus for some of these violators to continue unabated. The risk of capture remains low, there does not appear to be a significant risk of fellow divers deterring them, and some of the violators are making over $100,000 a year selling illegal abalone. The black market for abalone is so strong that violators are able to get $75-$100 for a large red abalone.

It is vitally important for the sport diving public to be on the lookout for these violators and to take the time to contact Fish and game tip line and report them or at least take pictures with your cell phone of the vehicle license plates of the violators and make that available to enforcement.

As you will read in my previous post Poaching may be responsible for the noticeable reduction of abalone densities in all areas of the northern California Abalone Index Sites.

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