Abalone Poacher Faces Stiff Sentence
The urchin diver caught with four illegally harvested abalone on a boat in the Santa Barbara Harbor in November 2012 was convicted by a jury of all seven charges against him last week and will be sentenced on 4/24. The state Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) is seeking a stiff sentence for Robert Laumer, including a lifetime suspension of his recreational and commercial fishing permits as well as community service and fines. The other three men caught that day, John Bolton, David Abernathy, and Richard Gallo, were cleared of any wrongdoing. It was the first case of abalone poaching by a commercial fisherman since the taking of the mollusk was banned in Southern California more than 15 years ago. “We’re thrilled to get justice in this case,” said DFW spokesperson Andrew Hughan. “We want the bad guys to see that we are out there.” The conviction comes just a week after two other Santa Barbara Harbor fishermen were caught stealing crabs from other fishermen’s nets.