Commercial Fisherman Loses License, Lobster Privileges

The following is courtesy with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

CDFW photo

Fish and Game Commission Revokes Commercial Fisherman’s License, Lobster Privileges

The California Fish and Game Commission has permanently revoked the commercial fishing license and lobster operator permit of a Los Angeles County resident.

During its executive session Feb. 15, 2024, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to adopt the recommendation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to permanently revoke the commercial fishing license and lobster operator permit of Rustin Craig Wilson, 40, of Lawndale.

The commission’s action followed a three-day hearing in November 2023 before an administrative law judge who heard testimony from both sides regarding Wilson’s history of violations in the commercial lobster fishery.

CDFW outlined 18 causes for discipline in addition to aggravating factors. Wildlife officers recounted multiple incidents and documented violations that included fishing in a State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA), not servicing traps at the required intervals, leaving lobster traps in the water after the close of the season, failing to retrieve a closed and baited lobster trap from the water after the close of the season and retaining lobster traps and tags not issued to him.

Evidence was also presented of Wilson’s conviction in Los Angeles County Superior Court for fishing in the Blue Cavern SMCA, a conviction resulting from the diligent effort of prosecutors in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Environmental Justice Unit.

“Whether it’s hunting, recreational fishing, or commercial fishing, the opportunity to take and possess fish and wildlife resources in California requires a high degree of mutual trust between wildlife officers and the public,” said Nathaniel Arnold, Acting Chief of CDFW’s Law Enforcement Division. “The commercial fishing industry is trusted to comply with laws and regulations, including avoiding Marine Protected Areas. Those who do not comply erode the trust between CDFW, the public, and their law-abiding fellow commercial fishers and threaten the sustainability of our coastal ecosystems.”

CDFW’s wildlife officers are entrusted with protecting marine resources by patrolling and enforcing the law along California’s vast, 840-mile-long coastline.

For more information and additional photos, please see the Fish and Game Commission report available online at the following link: