Following the season opener in October, public complaints began pouring in to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) poaching hotline about undersized lobster taken from the San Clemente Pier and the Dana Point jetties. The information came from law-abiding lobster anglers who were witnessing the crimes and reporting them through the CalTIP (Californians Turn in Poachers and Polluters) program.
Meticulous planning and coordinated patrol efforts resulted in seventeen citations, with a total of 25 violations found. Charges included possession of undersized lobsters, lobster report card violations, possession of undersized kelp and barred sand bass, and failure to have a lobster measuring device in possession. If convicted, the individuals cited could face up to a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for each offense.
The wildlife officers successfully returned a total of 33 illegally harvested undersized lobsters, two kelp bass and three barred sand bass to the ocean.
“Protecting California’s natural resources requires dedication, passion and teamwork,” said CDFW Lieutenant Dave McNair. “Those anglers who came forward and provided information became an integral part of our team. This was a perfect example of how the CalTIP program works.”
Report a poacher or other wildlife violation
CalTIP is a confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to proavide wildlife officers with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. The CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, is printed on the back of every hunting and fishing license. Tips can also be relayed by text to tip411, which allows the public to text message an anonymous tip to wildlife officers and lets the officers respond back creating an anonymous two-way conversation. Anyone with a cell phone may send an anonymous tip to CDFW by texting “CALTIP”, followed by a space and the message, to 847411 (tip411).