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Two San Diego fishermen admit illegally fishing for tuna in Mexican waters

June 28, 2011 |  2:01 pm

Two commercial fishing captains from San Diego pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally fishing for albacore tuna in Mexican waters without the permits required by Mexican law and an international treaty.

Nathan Lee, 36, captain of the fishing boat Two Captains, and Scott Hawkins, 49, captain of the Jody H, admitted in federal court that they caught about 800 pounds of albacore tuna in June 2010 while fishing about 100 miles into Mexican waters near Guadalupe Island.

Each was fined $500 and put on three years' probation. Both boats had navigational gear allowing its captain to know the craft's location, according to testimony.

Lee also admitted that while anchored off San Clemente Island he used a rifle to shoot a sea lion, a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Witnesses said the animal let out a painful cry, according to investigators.

Lee had been warned by the Coast Guard in 2008 that fishing in Mexican waters without a permit was illegal, according to U.S. Atty. Laura E. Duffy.

Fishing of albacore tuna is regulated by international treaties.


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