Two Santa Barbara County Men Arrested for Felony Fish Theft

Two commercial fishermen were arrested by California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers early Sunday morning in Santa Barbara Harbor on felony charges of conspiracy and grand theft.

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John Wilson, 53, of Santa Ynez and Kai Griffin, 23, of Buellton, both licensed commercial fishermen, are being charged with stealing live rock crabs from fellow commercial fishermen and stealing from commercial fish markets at the commercial dock in Santa Barbara Harbor. Wildlife officers allege that the pair then sold the crabs, along with several other illegally landed species, at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.

“Thanks to some good tips from the fishing community and good, solid police work, we were able to catch the suspects and stop these illegal sales,” said CDFW Lt. Wes Boyle

Wardens had received reports from commercial fishermen and two Santa Barbara fish markets regarding stolen rock crabs and other assorted species. The thefts were said to be occurring in the early morning hours. During the two-month-long investigation, the subjects were observed stealing live rock crabs from receivers in Santa Barbara Harbor and then selling them at the Farmer’s Market. The investigation also showed that the subjects were selling sea urchins, Kellet’s whelks (out of season), live rock crabs and clawed rock crabs that were illegally landed.

The suspects were booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, and charges will be filed with the county District Attorney.

Media Contacts:     
Capt. Mike Stefanak, CDFW Law Enforcement, (805) 746-7590
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

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CDFW To Hold Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Ban Implementation

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold a public workshop to discuss the implementation of the lead bullet ban. The workshop will be held at 911 San Pedro Street in Ventura on Tuesday, April 15 from 7-8:30p.m.

A CDFW representative will detail a proposed plan for implementation, the PowerPoint for which can be viewed on the CDFW website. Following the short presentation, interested parties can make comments and provide input. That input may help shape CDFW’s final recommendation to the Fish and Game Commission, which CDFW anticipates presenting to the Commission at the Wildlife Resources Committee meeting in Sacramento in September.

Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 711 requiring that a regulation to ban lead ammunition in the state be established by the Commission no later than July 1, 2015, with full implementation to be effective no later than July 1, 2019. Governor Brown has directed CDFW and the Commission to work with all interested parties in order to produce a regulation that is least disruptive.

In order to determine what is least disruptive to hunters, CDFW has been reaching out to interested parties this year in a number of ways, including question and answer sessions at sportsmen’s shows, internal meetings with hunting organizations and now a series of public workshops throughout the state. After Ventura, planning is underway for workshops later this year in Eureka, Sacramento and San Diego.

Media Contacts:
Andrew Hughan, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8944

New Tagging Requirements for California Sturgeon Anglers

Media Contact: Lt. Patrick Foy, 916-508-7095

California sturgeon anglers will see a small change to sturgeon tags issued beginning Jan. 1, 2014. Sturgeon anglers have been required to tag all retained legal sized sturgeon for many years. In the past, the date, location and length of the fish caught were recorded on each tag. Now, in addition to legibly and permanently writing the date, time, location and length, the new tags require the angler to physically punch out the date and month printed on each tag.

The bag limit for sturgeon remains at one per day and up to three sturgeon per year. Failure to attach a properly filled out tag to a retained sturgeon is a misdemeanor violation.  The California Fish and Game Commission passed the regulation change on Oct. 2, 2013. Changes were approved by the Office of Administrative Law then filed with the Secretary of State on Dec. 23, 2013.

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