A Corona del Mar spearfisherman was cited Friday night for illegally harvesting a giant seabass, according to the Department of Fish and Game.
Scott Andrew Carlton was said to be hunting with a speargun just before dark off Salt Creek Beach in Orange County.
A DFG news release states that a concerned citizen snapped a photo of Carlton with his catch, then notified a CHP officer, who detained the fisherman until a DFG warden arrived.
Giant seabass, more commonly referred to as black sea bass, have been protected in California waters for decades, after nearly being fished and hunted to extinction. They can measure seven feet long and weigh up to 500 pounds.
DFG warden Justin Sandvig said Carlton claimed ignorance of the law.
Capt. Dan Sforza of the DFG's Law Enforcement Division stated: "Ignorance of the law is no excuse especially when poaching state-protected species. "Giant seabass are endeared by many ocean enthusiasts because of their size and docile nature."
That was what made them so vulnerable to divers before the 1950s, when they were hunted and fished extensively for trophy wall mounts, and for their tender white flesh.