Two fishermen were charged Thursday with misdemeanors for allegedly catching a critically endangered giant black sea bass off the Balboa Pier in January, prosecutors said. The fish they hauled in measured 62 inches long (more than five feet) and weighed between 140 and 200 pounds, authorities had determined.
John Francis Brady, 45, from Huntington Beach, and Jonathan Paul Apothaker, 45, from Valley Village, face up to six months in jail on misdemanor possession of a black sea bass, which is listed as critically endangered in California by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.
Prosecutors and the defendants agree on most of what happened that day.
On Jan. 3, the two men were fishing separately at the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. Brady was in a small boat on the water, and Apothaker was on the pier above. That afternoon, Apothaker got a bite. It was a giant black sea bass.