Latest posts by PJ (see all)
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- License of sport fishing boat operator suspended for poaching in marine protected area. - February 8, 2018
It was about time for a sport fishing boat operator to lose his license. The license of the Pacific Star Sportfishing, Inc. was just suspended for five years for poaching in marine protected areas.
I used to take frequent trips to the southern California islands for diving, fishing, and just for fun. Over the years, it became more and more obvious that these fishing charter boats were becoming more numerous and their fishing and diving operations inching closer and closer to protected areas.
The islands along the coast of southern California line a wide area of marine protected assets. Recreation, diving, and fishing near them is at its best. Unfortunately, over the past decade or so more and more sport fishing boast operators targeted these areas for their daily excursions. Every morning the idyllic peace was shattered by the sounds from the boats only to return at the end of the day when the boats had left.
Many of the charter boats, both fishing and diving, anchored extremely close to the borders of the protected areas. In fact, so close that is was obvious to me that some poaching, organized or not, was bound to occur. This is especially true for diving charter boats.
The sport fishing operator license of Pacific Star Sport fishing was suspended for five years after a hearing and oral argument before the California Fish and Game Commission in February 2018.
CDFW undercover wildlife officers conducted undercover operations on vessels of Pacific Star Sportfishing. The observation wildlife officers made during the sting operation was cause for the boarding of the vessel in 2013. They had gathered a total of 18 violations. Among them poaching in a marine protected area, exceeding possession limits of several fish species, the use of illegal methods of taking fish, and failing to report accurate counts in logbooks.
During a two-day hearing, an administrative law judge proposed that the Fish and Game Commission suspend the license of Pacific Star for two years. However, only the first 90 days were an actual suspension as long as Pacific Star obeyed the terms of the probation.
The Fish and Game Commission considered the proposal introduce by the administrative law judge as inadequate. It gave Pacific Star and the CDFW 15 minutes to argue their respective position.
The five-year suspension is the result.
I can only applaud this laudable decision in the interest of future fishermen, divers, and recreational boaters.
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