As expected, 55-year-old commercial urchin diver Robert Laumer received a stiff punishment last month after being convicted of illegally harvesting abalone from the Channel Islands, the first Southern California abalone poaching case in 15 years. On April 18, Laumer — who was caught in Santa Barbara Harbor with the three red abalone shells and four live abalone the day before Thanksgiving in 2012 — was put on three years probation, fined $15,000, and had both commercial and recreational fishing licenses revoked for life. Fishing for abalone south of San Fransciso was banned in 1997.


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