CRIMINAL CHARGES FILED IN DEATH OF MORE THAN 400 TERNS
- News release this morning:
Long Beach, April 19, 2007: Long Beach City Prosecutor Tom Reeves and
representatives from the California Department of Fish and Game
criminal charges were filed against Point Loma Maritime Services,
Inc. and three
individuals, all allegedly involved in the death of more than 400
City Prosecutor John Fentis filed the case at the Long Beach
Superior Court on
Wednesday, April 18, 2007.
"The alleged actions of the defendants contributed to the death of
more than 400
birds," said City Prosecutor Tom Reeves, who added that, "the
the significant impact these acts had on a vulnerable species."
According to the California Department of Fish and Game, the death
amounted to the failure of one of the world's only nesting colonies
species, virtually wiping out an entire generation of elegant terns.
"The Department is gratified the City Prosecutor is moving this very
case forward," said DFG Director Ryan Broddrick. "In bringing
the responsible parties, the City of Long Beach underscores its
the devastating impact of wildlife crimes and an appreciation for
and complicated investigation undertaken by Fish and Game wardens
who protect our state's natural resources."
A lengthy investigation conducted by DFG determined that the terns
June 2006 after two of the defendants boarded the barge on which the
located. Hundreds of dead terns washed ashore in the days following
incident. Point Loma Maritime Services, Inc., based out of San
identified as the company that chartered the barge, and three of its
representatives (Ralph Botticelli, 39, of San Diego; Alan Schlange,
38, of Costa
Mesa; and Scott Caslin, 32, of San Diego) were charged with seven
counts for illegally removing, harassing and causing the death of
They were also charged with destroying several nests.