By Thadeus Greenson
While the bulk of the 11 criminal charges facing Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District Commissioner Aaron Newman stem from a few specific poaching allegations, court documents in the case suggest they may be part of a larger pattern of behavior.
Newman was arrested June 8 and has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which include four felonies. He stands accused of lying and using illegal tags in 2009 and 2012 to circumvent state limitations on abalone and deer harvests.
Manny Daskal, Newman's attorney, declined to comment for this story.
Abalone fishing is tightly regulated under California law, which only allows people to free dive and pull the mollusks off rocks with a tool, known as an abalone iron. To legally harvest abalone in California, one must first acquire a permit -- known as an abalone report card -- that comes with 24 tags. When an abalone is harvested, it must immediately be marked with one of the tags, limiting the abalone a person can catch to two dozen per year.
Two of the felony charges facing Newman stem from allegations that he received an abalone report card in 2009 and used 21 of the tags. Then, he is alleged to have filed a request for a replacement card, in the form of an affidavit, saying he'd lost his original card after using only three of the tags. More....