State/National/WorldNews Briefs

Santa Barbara Lobster Fisherman Found Guilty of Trap Abandonment

Christopher Miller, 67, of Los Alamos, was recently convicted in Santa Barbara Superior Court on charges related to commercial lobster fishing violations. These included falsifying fishing records, harvesting lobster out of season and abandoning over 150 lobster traps around Santa Cruz Island and Santa Barbara Harbor.


This marked Miller’s third conviction for lobster poaching since 2014. Despite being ordered to remove his traps after the close of the 2021-22 season, Miller left them in state waters, posing a threat to marine life and human safety. As a result of his actions, Miller was ordered to pay $19,340 in restitution.


“The vast majority of California’s commercial lobster fishers abide by the law and provide Californians with sustainable, high quality locally harvested seafood,” said Nathaniel Arnold, acting chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Division. “Abandoning 156 lobster traps and ignoring other commercial lobster fishing regulations adds up to a significant detrimental impact on the fishery and will always be a high priority investigation for our wildlife officers.”


The crews of CDFW’s Law Enforcement patrol boats dedicated months of effort to clear the abandoned traps during the investigation. Given the extensive amount of gear, the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, a non-governmental organization supported by the California Coastal Commission, aided CDFW in removing the abandoned equipment.

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