Game wardens have been busy in Southern California, confiscating dozens of wild trout and spiny lobsters in two separate poaching incidents. 

According to a Facebook post by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the first incident led to the seizure of 49 dead rainbow trout. The poacher had caught and illegally kept the trout while fishing in a catch-and-release only section of Piru Creek. According to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, Piru Creek is one of only two streams in the Angeles National Forest managed for wild trout, which may in fact “be important resources to the recovery of [endangered] Southern California steelhead.”

The second incident also involved gross disregard of the Golden State’s fisheries regulations. “San Diego based wildlife officers observed two men hastily loading a boat onto a trailer at Dana Landing in Mission Bay,” explained CDFW. “The two wildlife officers initiated a traffic stop on the SUV and upon conducting an inspection, discovered 86 lobsters in their possession.”

Eighty of the lobsters were undersized; the legal daily bag limit per person is seven. “Size and bag limits are in place to allow recreational harvest and consumption of fish and game species in low enough numbers to ensure their populations are self-sustainable,” explains CDFW. “Left unchecked, poaching activities, like being over the allowable limit and undersized takes, threaten those populations and the lawful authority to fish or hunt for them.”

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Both incidents were initially reported through CDFW’s CALTIP Program, a “confidential secret witness program” that allows the public to report potential wildlife infractions 24/7. If the information provided leads to a poaching arrest, individuals stand to receive up to $3,500 in reward money. In both recent cases, CDFW officers confiscated the poached aquatic life and filed both cases in the appropriate courts.