In the first case of its kind in 15 years, a commercial sea urchin diver in Southern California was convicted of poaching abalone and six other resource violations, given a stiff fine and his fishing privileges revoked for life.
On April 18, Robert Kenneth Laumer, 55, of Santa Barbara was fined $15,000 and put on three years’ probation by the Santa Barbara Superior Court. Laumer’s commercial and recreational fishing license and permits were revoked for life. He also forfeited more than $1,000, the proceeds from his sea urchin catch, to the Fish and Game Preservation Fund.
“Because of the depleted abalone resources in Southern California waters, it’s been illegal to take them for 14 years,” said CDFW Ventura County Warden Santos Cabral. The abalone found on the vessel, which ranged from 8-10 inches, would be considered trophy size in northern California, where sport take is allowed.