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Fisherman gets jail time, ban for lobster poaching in Laguna


A Riverside County man caught poaching lobsters in Laguna Beach has been sentenced to jail, fined and banned from the state’s newly established marine reserve.

Marbel A. Para was also ordered to forfeit his diving equipment.

The 30-year-old Romoland resident marks the first successful prosecution of a so-called resource crime since the establishment of the Marine Protection areas off the Southern California coast went into effect Jan. 1, according to the state Department of Fish and Game.

"This diver intentionally took a huge overlimit of lobster with no regard for the current laws," said Paul Hamdorf, of the Fish and Game agency. Para had three times the legal limit of lobsters when he was caught, according to the department.

Fish and Game wardens found Para and a companion after midnight on Jan. 15 with 47 California spiny lobsters, the department said. All but five were undersized.

The Riverside County man was sentenced to three years' probation, seven days in Orange County jail and levied a $20,000 fine. His companion was not cited.

Para was also ordered to stay away from the state Marine Reserve in Laguna Beach.


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--Barbara Diamond, TCN

Photo: The spiny lobster. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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