Poacher of Mendocino Coast abalone faces fine, prison term

THE ABALONE HUNTER1

A Sacramento man faces 32 months in state prison, a fine of $15,000

and a lifetime revocation of his fishing license after pleading guilty Thursday to poaching abalone from the Mendocino Coast, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Dung Van Nguyen, 41, appeared in Mendocino County Superior Court, where he pleaded to one felony count of forging an abalone report card and to a misdemeanor for taking abalone for commercial purposes.

As a condition of his deal, Nguyen is required to return to court for sentencing Nov. 11, when he will be remanded into custody.

Nguyen was previously convicted for poaching crimes, according to the state agency.

Wildlife officers said they observed Nguyen take at least 35 abalone in 2013, 17 in excess of the annual limit.

Poachers are lured by the high price the mollusks, a delicacy, fetch on the black market.

Fishing for abalone is legal, but divers must be licensed and are limited to three a day and a total of 18 in a season. Divers must track their catches on report cards.

You can reach Staff Writer Elizabeth M. Cosin at 521-5276 or elizabeth.cosin@pressdemocrat.com.

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