The owner of a tropical fish company in Hayward has been sentenced in federal court in San Francisco to one and a half months in prison for illegally importing a rare fish from a French island. Steven Robinson, 58, of Hayward, who owns Cortez Marine International, was given the prison sentence and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine by U.S. Magistrate Nathaniel Cousins on Wednesday.
Robinson admitted in his guilty plea in August to collecting 52 Clipperton Angelfish in 2009 from Clipperton Island, an uninhabited coral atoll in the Pacific Ocean about 700 miles southwest of Mexico. The island belongs to France, and French law requires a permit from the French government for collecting any Clipperton Angelfish.
The blue Clipperton Angelfish is found only at Clipperton Island. Robinson pleaded guilty on Aug. 17 to one misdemeanor count of illegal trade in protected wildlife. The 45-day prison sentence was outlined in his plea agreement. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said Robinson admitted that he took a four-day voyage to the island in April 2009 for the purpose of collecting the fish. He then tried to bring them to the United States by labeling them as a more common type of angelfish, known as “Blue passer,” found in Mexican waters, Haag said. The fish were seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Haag said the Clipperton Angelfish can be sold for several thousand dollars each in U.S. markets and up to $10,000 in Asian markets. Robinson was ordered to begin serving his sentence on Jan. 30.
Copyright © 2011 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.
Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text us at 408-355-0999 or CLICK HERE to send a confidential email tip, if you have any information that can help solve this crime.
Por favor llame la línea de Los Fugitivos en 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) o texto en 408-355-0999 o haga clic aquí para enviar un email a [email protected], si usted tiene alguna información que pueda ayudar a resolver este crimen.
Comment Advisement We welcome your thoughts, but for the sake of all readers, please refrain from the use of obscenities, personal attacks or racial slurs. All comments are subject to our terms of service and may be removed. Repeat offenders may lose commenting privileges.