California Game Wardens made several poaching cases in Redondo Beach recently, including one with suspects in possession of 132 lobsters.
“We are focusing our patrols on the worst abusers of our lobster resource to protect it for responsible users,” said Assistant Chief Paul Hamdorf of the California Department of Fish and Game Law Enforcement Division. “We are successfully using a team patrol concept and will continue to seek out those who intentionally violate fishing and hunting laws.”
With lobster season open and under way, wardens throughout Southern California are making numerous lobster poaching cases, but nowhere has the poaching pressure been greater than Redondo Beach.
On Sept. 29, two nights prior to the lobster season opener, Wardens Michele Budish and Kory Collins observed five men poaching lobsters from the King Harbor Jetty. They observed the men for approximately four hours and ultimately contacted them at 2 a.m. as they drove away in their pickup. The five men possessed 132 lobsters, many of them were shorter than the size limit. All five subjects were arrested for gross overlimit of lobster and possession of lobster for commercial sale. They were booked into Redondo Beach Police Department jail, their gear was seized as evidence, and their vehicle was towed. Arrested during the case were Ramon Gonzalo Montes, 28, Omar De Leon Aguilar, 26, and Juan Manuel De Leon Haro, 34, all from Los Angeles and Augustin Granados, 67, and Ruben Flores, Jr.,38, both of South Gate. Budish and Collins returned to the King Harbor Jetty the same night and made four more lobster poaching cases totaling 13 additional poached lobsters before the morning sun came up. All lobsters from the night’s cases were photographed as evidence and successfully returned to the ocean.
Recreational lobster fishing season opened Oct. 1, 2011 and extends to Mar. 21, 2012. Lobster fishing regulations are found on page 57 of the Ocean Sportfishing Regulations and are available at: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2011.asp
Lobster report cards are required for all anglers fishing for lobsters. The report card must be filled out prior to fishing for lobster, a common violation that has generated numerous warnings since the season opened, but will transition to citations soon. Data from the lobster report cards helps biologists closely monitor the health of the population.
Lobster seasons and size limits are set to allow lobsters the opportunity to reproduce prior to being old enough to retain by anglers, which takes about five to six years.