By Rachel Swan
Better days lie ahead for the sharks in San Francisco Bay, now that alleged poaching vessel "The Shark Hunter" (actually a fishing boat small enough to load in the back of a Toyota pickup) is banned from the bay's navigable waters.
The boat's captain, Milpitas man Dean Tuan Trinh, pled guilty to charges that he ran a live shark poaching operation, plucking leopard sharks from the bay and exporting them to customers in Florida and Canada via several businesses, which all seem to have shuttered.
Trinh's enterprises Aquatop USA, High Tech Auctions, and hightechauction.com were all based in Milpitas according to San Jose Mercury News reporter Eric Kurhi, and customers have long regarded them with suspicion. The alleged shark tycoon also imported and resold pups from Florida, according to an AP report.
Sharks have a small but mighty sphere of influence in California state governments, as illustrated by a June ban on importing shark fins for a popular Chinese soup. In this case they also had the century-old federal Lacey Act, a conservation law that prohibits trade in fish and wildlife. Since Trinh was also convicted of wiring and conspiracy charges, he could face a long rap.