February 11, 2006

San Leandro Pastor Charged With Illegal Shark Trade

Kevin Thompson, 48, pastor of the Bay Area Family Church in San Leandro, Calif., was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 24, 2006, along with five others, of illegal trade in leopard sharks.

Leopard shark

According to the press release from the United States Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of California, the six individuals were charged with violating the Lacey Act, which incorporates a California law "which places a minimum size limit of 36 inches for any commercial harvest of California leopard sharks."

In the indictment, Thompson is charged with four others in selling 465 juvenile leopard sharks to companies across the U.S., in the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

Also charged were Hiroshi Ishikawa, 36, of San Leandro, a member of the Bay Area Family Church, John Newberry, 34, of Hayward, California, Ira Gass, 53, of Azusa, California, Vincent Ng, 43, of Oakland, the owner of Amazon Aquarium in Alameda, California, and Sion Lim, 39, of San Francisco, California, the owner Bayside Aquatics, located in Oakland California. Thompson, Ishikawa, and two others were released on $100,000 bail.

The Bay Area Family Church is part of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. This is of interest because in The Way of Tuna, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon writes, "When you think of the ocean you think about the movie "Jaws," don't you? Now instead of thinking a shark will use you as his food, you can think you will use the shark to feed the world. Not only men, but women will do it also. That is a long-standing goal of mine."

Of the 19 leopard sharks confiscated during the investigation, nine were released into the wild, three are on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and seven others died.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at February 11, 2006 6:25 PM | TrackBack

hello, my name is Jove Meyer and i am a member of the unification church in the bay area and i was just wondering the reasoning of your use of the quote about Jaws from our founder in this article for two reasons, first, it almost seems to try to stir up more contraversy than needed, and has no relevence to the case,nor the men on trial. Secondly you chose the most random excerpt from his speech . could you please explain to me why you added this in the article so i can see more clearly your intentions.

Posted by: jove meyer at February 14, 2006 5:59 PM

I chose that comment because that's one of the quotes from Rev. Moon that comes up if you search for his name and shark. It's not the only one. He also advocates eating sharks in Chapter 6 of God's Will and the Ocean, which can be found at http://www.unification.org/ucbooks/GWO/GWO-06.htm

Posted by: Mike Katz at February 15, 2006 9:06 AM
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