Abalone Poachers Stopped in the Act


Posted: 03 Feb 2021 04:17 PM PST

On the night of Jan. 30, 2021, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) law enforcement officer based out of Long Beach partnered with the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) on a joint agency boat patrol in and around Long Beach Harbor. While on patrol, the officers observed the silhouettes of two subjects on the rocks of a jetty. LBPD boat operators dropped the wildlife officer off on the rocks to make contact. When he attempted to contact the subjects, they immediately fled, initiating a brief foot pursuit. Upon a subsequent search and with the help of the LBPD Air Support Unit, officers located two men hiding in the rocks who were in joint possession of 16 abalone. The nearby Los Angeles Port Police also assisted with the response.

CDFW partnered with multiple agencies last month to apprehend two suspected abalone poachers.

The wildlife officer cited both subjects for 16 counts related to the unlawful take and possession of green and pink abalone. The abalone appeared to be in survivable condition and were carefully returned to the ocean.

“This is a perfect example of  mutual aid cooperation allowing us to create a force multiplier in order to protect our precious resources,” said David Bess, CDFW Deputy Director and Chief of the Law Enforcement Division. “This joint patrol effort allowed us to apprehend these suspected poachers who were targeting abalone, a protected species south of the Golden Gate for more than 23 years.”

CDFW thanks LBPD and the Los Angeles Port Police for their continued dedication in helping keep Southern California’s fish and wildlife populations safe.

A moratorium was established in 1997 for the take of abalone, commercial or recreational, south of the Golden Gate Bridge after the population neared collapse. A statewide closure of any abalone harvest took effect in mid-2017 as the red abalone population has continued to decline mostly due to environmental stressors. The recreational closure of abalone harvest has since been extended north of the Golden Gate Bridge until 2026.

If you witness a poaching, wildlife trafficking or pollution incident, immediately dial the toll free CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tips may also be submitted by texting to tip411 (847411). Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to tip411 by texting “CALTIP” followed by a space and the message. Tips can also be reported through the free CalTIP smartphone app, which operates similarly to tip411 by creating an anonymous two-way conversation with wildlife officers. The CalTIP app can be downloaded via the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store.