SAN DIEGO (CN) – Two commercial fishermen pleaded guilty to federal charges of taking 800 lbs. of albacore tuna without permits from Mexican waters – and one admitted he shot a sea lion off San Clemente Island.
Scott Hawkins, 49, and Nathan Lee, 36, both of San Diego, were each given 3 years probation and fined $500.
Lee admitted shooting the sea lion, in violation of the Marine Protection Act, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said: “Witnesses advised government investigators that they heard the animal yelp and observed blood in the water.”
Lee was captain of the ship Two Captains and Hawkins captain of the Jody H. The Coast Guard already had warned Lee that it was illegal to fish in Mexican waters without a permit, and both men “admitted that they had navigational equipment on board capable of advising them of their location,” prosecutors said.
The men were more than 100 miles into Mexican water when they took the tuna.