Marin, CA – On the evening of Tuesday the 14th, an important and expensive conservation tool used to count endangered fish populations was vandalized and the subject of theft. The theft was recorded and the video has been published on-line.
SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) has issued a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprit.
A net used to funnel endangered salmon into a trap box was stolen and the trap box and accessory equipment was smashed up. Some of the equipment belonged to CA Fish & Wildlife and some to SPAWN.
The destruction occurred in San Geronimo Creek at a site used to record the number of coho salmon and steelhead as they migrate out of streams and head to the ocean. Normally, the trap box is checked daily and the fish are released after being counted, weighed and measured. The information collected under Endangered Species from th the federal and State government agencies granted to SPAWN, is crucial for conservation agencies to determine the proper action in preventing the local extinction of these important fish.
Despite the theft and damage, SPAWN was able to get a spare trap up and running within 24 hours.
“If the stolen net had endangered salmon in it, which there is a high likelihood, these animals are dead and that makes it a federal offense punishable by jail time and large fines. We did find native fish dead in the smashed trap box, but thankfully they were not endangered,” said Andy Harris, Managing Director of SPAWN.
A video surveillance camera, normally used to monitor fish and other wildlife activity at the site, caught the culprit’s action on film but the identity of the vandal is still unknown. SPAWN is asking for any information leading to the identity of this individual and is offering a $500 reward for information leading to his arrest.
This violent act follows other verbal and written attacks against SPAWN by so-called property rights activists who are opposed to new regulations under consideration to protect streamside buffers from development.
If you have any information that would help in this case, please contact Andy Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the SPAWN office at (415) 663-8590.
SPAWN, the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network (www.SpawnUSA.org), works to protect endangered coho salmon, steelhead and the creeks in Marin County, California’s Lagunitas Creek Watershed through education, restoration, advocacy, strategic litigation, research and monitoring. SPAWN is an initiative of Turtle Island Restoration Network (www.TIRN.net), which is headquartered in Marin County, CA. Turtle Island has over 60,000 supporters and on-line activists.