By Cathy Locke
A Yolo County jury has convicted two Sacramento men of poaching sturgeon.
Nikolay Krasnodemskiy, 41, and Petr Dyachishin, 53, were found guilty Wednesday of multiple felony counts of sturgeon poaching, according to a District Attorney’s Office news release.
In February 2010, state Department of Fish and Wildlife wardens observed the two men fishing at Horseshoe Bend in Yolo County. Because Krasodemskiy had a prior conviction for sturgeon poaching, wardens conducted several nights of surveillance and believed the men were using juvenile salmon as an illegal bait. The wardens found that Krasnodemskiy and Dyachishin illegally caught 18 sturgeons during a 10-day period.
A search warrant was obtained for Dyachishin’s residence, and Department of Fish and Wildlife authorities recovered three sturgeons, approximately 30 pounds of sturgeon eggs and caviar processing equipment. Officials said none of the sturgeons was properly tagged, and the defendants’ sturgeon report cards were not filled out as required by law.
Prosecutors said the poaching of sturgeon can lead to the extinction of the species and affects the ecosystem. It also adversely affects tourism and other businesses. They noted that poachers poachers make money by selling the meat and caviar at a discounted price on the black market.
Krasnodemskiy and Dyachishin are to be sentenced Aug. 1 by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock.