According to the Fishing Wire, a protected green sturgeon was rescued from the back of a California poacher’s car thanks to two anglers who recognized and reported the poaching crime to local conservation officers.
The incident reportedly began last Nov. 12 when a concerned angler witnessed another man catching and retaining what he recognized as a green sturgeon, a classified threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act.
The witness contacted a friend for advice, who then advised him to secretly take photos of the suspect and his vehicle’s license plate. With that information, the friend called CalTIP, California’s 24/7 Poaching and Pollution Hotline.
Shortly after the call, three wildlife officers responded to the CalTIP from as far as 90 minutes away. They used the license plate number to find the suspect’s home address, and shortly after their arrival, the suspect pulled up in his vehicle where he was charged for possession of the illegally retained sturgeon.
Amazingly, although the fish was found in the back of the individual’s SUV, the sturgeon was still alive and, after a 90-minute effort, the officers were able to revive and release the fish at a nearby boat launch.
According to the Fishing Wire, this green sturgeon measured 64.5 inches and is estimated to be 25-30 years old.
Although this news piece is geographically a long distance from Canada, we feel it is an important one in the ultimate result of a saved fish and a hopefully convicted criminal.
So many times, people want to turn their heads or hope that someone else will deal with fishing and hunting incidences/infractions that they see take place. The reality is YOU can make a difference.
Had the concerned angler in this story witnessed that man catching and retaining that sturgeon, yet turned the other cheek (full well knowing the laws as to the fish being a threatened species under the Federal Endangered Species Act), the fish would be dead and the criminal would be Scott-free.
Good on that angler for taking the time to grab his phone, take some licence plate image (or whatever else he did) and then immediately call the poaching hotline. Saved fish and fined poacher!
All anglers (occasional or hard-core) nationwide and beyond, need to have the wherewithal to pull up that phone, take a pic or video, then immediately call your local poaching hotline or Ministry of Natural Resources.
You most certainly can make a difference.
Here are some reference numbers to put in your phone.