SACRAMENTO — A sportfishing vessel operator in Southern California had its commercial license suspended for five years after the California Fish and Game Commission determined it committed 18 violations, including poaching within the state’s marine protected area (MPA) network.
The suspension was issued against Pacific Star Sportfishing after oral arguments were made at the Fish and Game Commission meeting in Sacramento, Feb. 7.
Pacific Star’s suspension was the result of an undercover operation and vessel boarding in 2013. Officers with the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) reportedly observed 18 violations of law, including poaching within an MPA network, exceeding possession limits of several species, illegal take methods and failure to keep accurate fish counts in the logbooks.
The allegations were part of a formal request filed with commission to suspend Pacific Star’s commercial passenger fishing license.
An administrative law judge held a two-day hearing in 2017 to review the case and proposed a two-year license suspension. Probation terms of the proposed punishment could have limited the suspension to 90 days.
The Fish and Game Commission rejected the judge’s proposal and issued the five-year suspension, instead.
Both sides (Pacific Star and DFW) were given 15 minutes to present their respective cases during the Feb. 7 commission meeting.
Pacific Star Sportfishing operated out of Pierpoint Landing in Long Beach and Seaforth Landing in San Diego, according to its website.