SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco fisherman, Tam Van Tran, is being sued for illegal Dungeness crab fishing off a protected area in Northern California as first reported by SF Gate on Sunday, May 29.  

After receiving a report from an anonymous fisherman, the California State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators found a total of 90 crab traps off the North Farallon Islands State Marine Reserve which is a cluster of small islands about 30 miles from San Francisco. The area is classified as “protected” and it is illegal for commercial fishing practices to take place within these areas in the state of California. Fines can range from $5,000 to $40,000 for the initial offense.

According to Fish and Wildlife Assistant Chief Eric Kord, the fisherman who filed the anonymous report was, “concerned that this fisherman’s illegal activities would put other law-abiding fisherman in a bad light.” The lawsuit stated that Tran’s illegal activity placed him at an advantage over other fishermen who sourced their product legally. 

The following was written in the lawsuit that was filed last week against Tran:

“Upon information and belief, this is the most egregious case of unlawful crabbing activity in San Francisco’s history, as well as the largest incident of unlawful commercial crabbing in any Marine Protected Area in the entire State of California.” 

According to the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, over 250 Dungeness crabs were released back into the ocean that were obtained from the traps. 

It was reported that the traps themselves could have endangered other wildlife like birds and whales that reside within the Farallon Islands.