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OC man cited for spearing giant sea bass, a protected species, off Dana Point

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Giant sea bass

A Corona Del Mar man got nailed for nailing the wrong fish: a protected giant sea bass, which he speared late last week off Dana Point, state officials said.

According to a statement by the Department of Fish and Game, 30-year-old Scott Carlton was busted after a “concerned citizen” saw the caught fish and “took a photo of the man and his catch, then notified a nearby CHP officer. The CHP detained Carlton, and notified DFG dispatch.”

Officials say Carlton was spearfishing Friday evening around 7:30 p.m. at Salt Creek Beach when he killed the giant sea bass, also known as a black sea bass.

The fish are considered “critically endangered,” meaning very close to extinction, and are a protected species under California law. Fishing them is a misdemeanor, although a San Diego Union-Tribune story from a few years ago says the crime can lead to fines ranging from $680 to $2,000 and even jail time.

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