A Rohnert Park man was fined $5,000 and received a lifetime fishing ban for poaching abalone off the Mendocino County coast.
Jason McMillen, 30, was punished for illegally taking 20 of the shellfish in June with the intent to sell them, said Mark Michilizzi, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
State law prohibits anyone from taking more than three abalone a day or possessing more than three at any time.
McMillen was caught after Fish and Wildlife officers investigated reports of a large, unattended bag floating in shallow water just south of Hare Creek with 17 red abalone in it, Michilizzi said.
Officers waited for McMillen to return to get it the next day, he said.
In addition to the fine and fishing ban, a Mendocino County judge ordered McMillen to serve two years' probation.