A man is accused of illegally catching hundreds of Dungenes crabs in a marine protected area in California, reports a lawsuit filed last week.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife reported that from December 23, 2020 to February 18, 2021, Defendant placed more than 90 crab traps in the North Faroe Islands State Marine Sanctuary, located approximately 30 miles from the Golden Gate of San Francisco. The bridge, according to a lawsuit filed by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Any fishing is prohibited in this protected area.
“… This is the most egregious case of illegal robbery in the history of San Francisco, as well as the largest incident of illegal commercial robbery in any marine protection zone in the entire state of California,” the lawsuit states.
State researchers of fish and wildlife have been able to determine which traps belonged to Tam Van Tran, a resident of Vallejo, statement say from the district prosecutor’s office.
The lawsuit alleges that while fishing in illegal territory, Tran gained an unfair advantage in the business. According to the lawsuit, the prosecutor’s office is demanding $ 912,500 in civil fines and court costs from Tran.
McClatchy News was unable to contact Tran or his attorney. Tran, however, told the CDFW that he did not know that “fishing in this area is prohibited,” the lawsuit said.
The CDFW has captured the traps and returned more than 250 Dangenes crabs to the ocean, the statement said.
The Dungeness crab business is lucrative in California and brought in more than $ 30 million in 2020, according to the lawsuit.
The CDFW first learned of possible illegal activity from a tip they received from another fisherman, the statement said.
“He was concerned that the illegal activities of this fisherman would put other law-abiding fishermen in a bad light. This is a large-scale incident of illegal removal from the marine protection zone, and we might not have known about it if another commercial fisherman had not reported the illegal activity, ”said Eric Cord, assistant chief of the CDFW Maritime Law Enforcement District. in the statement.