Man convicted for killing great white shark

SANTA CRUZ—California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife earned a legal victory in late January, when a San Jose man was convicted of shooting and killing a great white shark.

Vinh Pham, 41, was fined $5,000, placed on a two-year conditional probation and was ordered to have his firearm destroyed, all based on being convicted for unlawfully killing a great white shark in Santa Cruz County last year.

Pham was a member of a commercial fishing boat crew. DFW wildlife officers were given a tip that Pham was responsible for shooting at a great white shark with a .22 caliber firearm. The carcass of the 9-foot shark had beached onto the shore of Beer Can Beach on June 17, 2018, immediately sparking a DFW investigation. The subsequent autopsy – specifically called a necropsy – revealed the shark died due to being shot multiple times by a .22 caliber firearm.

Wildlife officers followed up with the tip it received and investigated the boat where Pham worked as a commercial fisherman. The investigation revealed several fishing violations (such as the possession of undersized halibut and no landing receipts) and a .22 caliber rifle. Bullets found in the shark matched with the rifle, according to DFW’s investigation.

Pham later confessed to the shooting and, on Jan. 14, pleaded guilty to multiple charges; he faced his charges at Santa Cruz Superior Court. The conviction was announced to the press on Jan. 24.

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