This is is one of those “Huh?” moments. California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials caught a diver off Catalina Island attempting to coax fish out of rocks for the purpose of selling them. The 46-year-old Ventura man allegedly used rubbing alcohol and faces charges of “use of chemical while collecting marine aquaria and unlawful take of marine aquaria at Catalina Island, which is prohibited by law.”
From the CDFW website (which also includes a photo gallery):
Officers entered the 62-degree water and observed a diver squirting a liquid (later determined to be rubbing alcohol) from a bottle into cracks of rocks. The liquid was forcing small fish, Blue Banded Goby (Lythrypnus dalli), into the open water where the man then caught them with a small aquarium fish net and immediately put them in a small plastic receptacle attached to his SCUBA gear. The warden used a mask and snorkel from just below the water’s surface to watch the diver squirt the bottle twice. The warden then dove down, showed the diver his warden identification, and directed the diver to come to the surface. Before ascending, the diver left one of his squirt bottles on the rocks and attempted to drop a small, mesh bag containing another squirt bottle. A warden retrieved both squirt bottles and the mesh bag.
Once on the sailboat, the suspect told the officers he was a licensed marine aquaria collector and his buyers were paying him $10 per fish. He stated that he did not know it is illegal to use rubbing alcohol to catch the small fish, or that it is illegal to partake in marine aquaria collection operations off Santa Catalina Island.
The holidays are fast approaching. Take advantage of California Sportsman’s great subscription offers – just $19.95 for 12 issues of your fishing and hunting and news in full color – and get the outdoors fanatic in your life a gift he or she will be fired up to receive in the mail every month. Click here for details.