San Jose Man Sentenced for Shooting Great White Shark
A San Jose man was sentenced for shooting and killing a great white shark last year in Santa Cruz County.
The shark washed up on Beer Can Beach in Rio Del Mar on June 17, 2018 with multiple gunshot wounds from a .22 caliber firearm.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife began an investigation immediately.
During the investigation, the CDFW received a phone tip that a member of a commercial fishing boat crew may have been responsible for the shark’s death.
CDFW officers investigated the tip and identified the suspected commercial fishing boat that night in the area where the shark had been found. Officers contacted the crew as the boat returned to the Santa Cruz Harbor.
CDFW conducted a fishing inspection and found multiple violations involving the suspected boat’s commercial catch.
Officers say they also found a fully loaded .22 caliber rifle was also discovered hidden behind the seat of the truck of the suspect, 41-year-old Vinh Pham of San Jose.
During the investigation, Pham reportedly confessed, claiming he shot the shark after seeing it swimming near his fishing net.
On Jan. 14, 2019, Pham pleaded guilty in Santa Cruz Superior Court to multiple charges including allowing the shark to rot, possessing a loaded rifle in his vehicle, possessing undersized halibut, failing to accurately weigh his catch, failing to complete landing receipts and failing to submit landing receipts.
Pham was sentenced with a $5,000 fine and put on probation for two years. The court also ordered that his firearm be destroyed.