Fish and Game arrest major abalone poacher

January 20, 2008 12:55:49 PM PST
The California Department of Fish and Game said they arrested big-time abalone poacher today near Fort Ross in unincorporated Sonoma County, according to Game Warden Patrick Foy.

At around 6 p.m., 50-year-old Mark Fresquez of Redwood City was cited by Fish and Game wardens for collecting abalone during the off-season. Fish and Game was alerted in advance by a call to their tip line that Fresquez, who has two previous citations for abalone poaching, was heading to the area, Foy said.

In May, Fresquez was cited by the State Park Service for having double the legal amount of abalone allowed, according to Foy, who said he was found guilty and placed on probation.

Then in November, Fresquez was busted again, this time along with a friend for collecting 28 abalone, Foy said. The legal amount allowed by law is three.

After today's tip came in, undercover game wardens set up surveillance and found Fresquez with 11 abalone, said Foy. He was charged for collecting out of season, having more than the maximum and for violating his probation.

"He was blatantly thumbing his nose at the justice system," Foy said. "We don't see a lot of real significant poaching because residents keep an eye out."

Fish and Game asks anyone who witnesses poaching to call the tip line at (888) BFG-CALT.