Commercial Crab Fisherman Sentenced for Crabbing in Marine Protected Area off Sonoma County

Media Contact: Warden Mark Michilizzi, CDFW Enforcement, (916) 651-2084

The captain of a commercial crab vessel was sentenced by the Sonoma County Superior Court for a misdemeanor violation committed while taking Dungeness crab from inside the Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve.

The Fish and Game Code and California Code of Regulations prohibit the take of any wildlife or deployment of fishing equipment in marine protected areas.

Steven Anello, 54, of Bodega Bay, was sentenced Jan. 3 to 36 months of informal probation, forfeiture of the proceeds of Dungeness crabs illegally taken, payment of a $10,000 fine, 20 hours of community service work and five days in jail. Anello was also ordered to stay out of Stewarts Point Marine Conservation Area during his probation.

Between April 3 and 7, 2012, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers observed Anello deploying crab traps into Stewarts Point State Marine Reserve waters. Officers located 23 of Anello’s traps inside the protected waters in the reserve.

It was also discovered the traps were not equipped with an escape device that allows crabs to escape from traps in the event traps are not raised or become lost. The escape devices help minimize crab mortality and are also required by law under the Fish and Game Code.