Fisheries Conservation photo

A few of the more elephant-memoried readers may remember one of Joe Cermele’s Honest Angler posts about a giant but protected sea bass, two anglers and an unfortunate (for them) Youtube video.


The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they do turn, and it seems judgment day has arrived for the sea bass slayers…

From this story in the Daily Pilot:
_The two fishermen who hauled a massive black sea bass to shore at the Balboa Pier pleaded guilty Wednesday and were sentenced to 120 hours of community service. They had faced up to six months in jail for catching the endangered species. Prosecutors had charged the two with misdemeanor possession of a black sea bass after they were videotaped with the fish, and their images landed on YouTube .
_Orange County Commissioner Richard E. Pacheco agreed to the plea bargain, which reduced their violation to an infraction. Prosecutors objected to the plea bargain, according to Orange County district attorney’s office spokeswoman Farrah Emami. Jon Apothaker of Valley Village was fishing on the pier while John Brady of Huntington Beach was fishing below the pier in a small boat in January 2010 when Apothaker got a bite. It was a giant black sea bass, more than 5 feet long and weighing between 140 and 200 pounds.

Apothaker struggled with the fish for about an hour until his line broke. Then Brady offered to help from below if Apothaker would agree to give up half the fish. He agreed, and Brady helped by towing the fish close to shore. Apothaker swam out, and brought it to the beach by hand. There, he posed with the giant bass before releasing it._

So what do you think? Punishment fit the crime?