San Francisco Abalone Poacher Busted Three Times in Three Weeks

A San Francisco man was recently caught poaching abalone during
the closed season – for the third time in three weeks. The last
arrest came on Feb. 19, 2011, when game wardens from the California
Department of Fish and Game (DFG) arrested Qiong Wang, 31, for
felony conspiracy and take of abalone for commercial purposes,
among other charges. Wardens also arrested Wang’s companion, David
Trevors, 28, of San Francisco, on similar charges.

On Feb. 2, an officer from the Petaluma Police Department
contacted Wang and Trevors in Petaluma during an investigation of
another crime. He found them in possession of five abalone. The
officer was aware that abalone season was closed. He cited and
released Wang for four poaching misdemeanors (unlawful take, take
of abalone out of season, possession of an overlimit and failure to
tag).

On Feb. 12, a Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Wang for
speeding on Highway 28 near Boonville. The deputy found two wet
duffel bags containing fresh abalone in the back seat and contacted
his dispatch to request assistance from a DFG warden. Warden Don
Powers responded and discovered 36 red abalone, five of which were
undersize. Powers also found five SCUBA tanks and associated SCUBA
diving gear in the trunk of Wang’s car. Wang was booked into
Mendocino County Jail for possession of abalone for commercial
sale. His Toyota sedan and all dive gear were seized as
evidence.

On Feb. 19, five days after being released from jail for the last
poaching incident, Wang and Trevors were spotted using SCUBA gear
to poach abalone from a rented kayak in Van Damme State Park. For
approximately two hours, wardens watched as the partners kayaked
into the ocean and collected 55 abalone. The men returned to shore,
stashed the abalone near the beach and drove to the Sub-Surface
Progression dive shop in Fort Bragg to return the rented kayak.
Wardens contacted the pair at the dive shop. Both men were arrested
and booked into Mendocino County Jail. Wardens recovered the hidden
abalone and Trevors’ vehicle and all related dive gear were
seized.

Despite aggressive enforcement and prosecution, wardens have
noticed an increase in abalone poaching over the last few years, on
the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts in particular. “For many abalone
poachers, the profit from the illegal sale of abalone clearly
outweighs the risks of getting caught,” said DFG Assistant Chief
Tony Warrington.

Abalone season closed Dec. 1, and does not reopen until April
1.

 

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