Serial lobster poacher gets jail time

Legally caught spiny lobsters and whelks are shown on delivery to an L.A. restaurant in this 2015 photo. A man in San Diego who had prevously been cited four times for poaching spiny lobsters will spend more than a month in jail after admitting to a new offense.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

A serial lobster poacher will spend more than a month in jail after he admitted to removing more than a dozen of the crustaceans from the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve this month, according to the San Diego city attorney’s office.

Before being arrested in the community of Bird Rock on July 11, Xam Lam Hoang had been cited four times for poaching lobsters in the reserve, which is a protected marine area.

“I’m proud of the role the city attorney’s office is playing in preserving our city’s coastal environment,” San Diego City Atty. Mara Elliott said in a statement. “We will continue to work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect precious marine resources so that they are available for future generations.”


As part of his plea agreement, Hoang will spend 45 days in jail and three years on probation. He was also fined $1,000 and was ordered to forfeit his fishing gear and any other spiny lobsters seized by U.S. Fish and Wildlife game wardens.

Hoang will be required to stay at least 100 yards from the reserve while on probation.

Anyone who witnesses illegal hunting, fishing or pollution can call CalTip, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s anonymous tip line, at (888) 334-2258. Texts may also be sent to the agency by texting “CALTIP” and a message about the incident to 847411.

Winkley writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.