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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

Man’s Possession of 80 Abalone Results in $40,000 Fine and Permanent Loss of Sportfishing License

Santa Rosa, CA  –  October 21, 2020  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch has announced that defendant Thanh Van Nguyen, 69, of Santa Rosa was sentenced yesterday by the Honorable Kenneth English for having an over limit of abalone in violation of F&G Code 5521.5(b).

District Attorney Ravitch stated, “Abalone is a precious resource to be protected. Those who seek it must remember the restrictions in place.  The defendant did not abide by the law and as a result, he lost his sport fishing license permanently.”

The charge(s) resulted from the execution of a search warrant during an  ongoing Fish and Wildlife investigation  during which 80 abalone were found at Nguyen’s Santa Rosa home. Thirty five of the abalone were tagged with the defendant’s tags, several were not tagged and some were shucked.  The annual bag limit for abalone is three abalone.  Possession of twelve abalone creates a presumption of possession for commercial purposes that an individual may then seek to overcome with evidence of lawful take.

The disposition requires Nguyen to pay a penalty of $40,000, perform 160 hours of community service, and forfeit the seized abalone.  His sport fishing license has been permanently revoked.  By statute, half of the $40,000 fine will go to an abalone restoration and preservation account and half will go to the county treasury.  In exchange for his plea, two misdemeanor counts were dismissed. At sentencing, the Honorable Kenneth English admonished the defendant regarding overfishing, stating that overfishing was how we have come to be in the current situation with abalone becoming more and more scarce. 

The case was investigated by a special operations unit of the Department of Fish and Wildlife and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Ann Gallagher White of the Environmental and Consumer Law Division of the District Attorney’s Office. 

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Contact Information

Brandon Gilbert
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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Santa Rosa, CA 95403
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