Clipperton Atoll: Steve Robinson Pleads Guilty To Illegal Collection

image by reefbuilders

It was the thing that prompted the creation of the Protect the Reef Fishes of Clipperton Atoll petition… the senseless deaths of dozens of rare Holacanthus limbaughi Clipperton Angelfishes, caused simply by the actions of one greedy and unscrupulous fish collector.

Now, Steve Robinson of Cortez Marine, the man responsible, is facing up to a year in prison plus a $100,000 fine for the illegal collection that went so horribly wrong, en-route from Clipperton Atoll in 2009.

Although it lies far off the coast of Mexico, Clipperton Atoll is a French possession and therefore permits must be attained from the relevant authorities before any such activity can take place. Actually, correspondence we had with the French Polynesian authorites confirmed that they had been systematically refusing such activity as the population of this species has never been properly assessed. We were therefore happy to tell them about Steve’s visit there (which they seemed unaware of at the time) and lets hope this may have played some small part in bringing his operation to light.

We’ll be watching closely to see what happens at sentencing in November. Until then many thanks to all who signed the petition and joined the Facebook group.

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