Cermele: Protected Fish, Video Cameras, and Morons

Here's an interesting story from the Los Angeles Times that proves you never know who has a video camera and Youtube account, so if you're going to potentially break the law, don't do it around a huge crowd of people. There are some gaps in this tale of sketchiness, but it begins with an angler on a boat catching a monster black sea bass off Newport Beach, California, on January 3. Problem is, these are protected species. Here's where things get weird.

The article claims this was an accidental catch, which is probably true. But it's unclear why these guys decided to tow the barely-kicking bass close to the beach where an "unidentified man" swam out, grabbed the fish, and pulled it to shore. From the story:

What initially appeared to be a case of a good Samaritan rescuing a huge black sea bass in Newport Beach could now result in criminal charges against the man for allegedly failing to help the animal, authorities said...

"They thought he made a reasonable effort to return the fish unharmed to the water," department [of Fish and Game] spokesman Harry Morse said...

But a video posted on YouTube shows the man apparently pulling the fish onto the sand as a throng of people surround the animal, shouting and cheering.

Yeah, I don't see any effort to help the fish, and if you look closely, the bass is wrapped in tons of line, chain, and a grappling hook. There are strange things afoot. I would guess the swimmer had no idea the fish was protected and was just looking to impress the beach crowd. These are the same people that get gored by buffalo in Yellowstone and try to catch spawning salmon by hand during "nature day" on Alaskan Cruises even though you're not supposed to do that. Take a look at the video and let me know what you think. - JC