Southern California breaking news and trends

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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Catalina Island Fox outsmarts extinction

santa catalina island fox

AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

A Santa Catalina Island fox pup dashes into the wilderness after being released on Santa Catalina Island, CA. The Catalina Island Conservancy released 10 captive-bred pups from one breeding season in an effort to reestablish the subspecies.

The Catalina Island Fox, an omnivorous fox subspecies found only on Santa Catalina Island, has outwitted extinction in an unprecedented creature comeback.

Conservationists began a recovery program for the gray, pointed nose canid in the late 1990s following a distemper epidemic that saw the fox population plummet to a sparse population of about 100 on the 76-square-mile island. When the captive breeding program ended in 2004, the foxes were listed as endangered.

There are now 1,542 cat-sized foxes that share the island with approximately 3,200 humans and more than 1 million tourists a year, reports the L.A. Times. In the foxes' favor, no natural predators exist on the island, and plenty of food — from mice to cherries — is readily available.

It's considered one of the most successful recoveries ever for an endangered species, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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