On May 12, criminal misdemeanor charges were filed by the state of Alaska against a vessel operator for allegedly operating non-pelagic trawl gear within the Kodiak, Alaska groundfish registration area.
U.S. Coast Guard officials said trawl gear used in the area had chafing gear attached to it and chain rib lines suitable for fishing in contact with the seabed, all of which are not authorized for legal pelagic trawl gear.
The Coast Guard did not identify the boat or operator other than to say it was an 88-foot fishing vessel and that a boarding team determined that it was in violation for trawling in the Barnabas closure are while having a non-pelagic trawl on board.
Alaska Wildlife Troopers Sgt. Josh Boyle said the violation is significant in the potential it has for negatively effecting important habitat.
The vessel was boarded near Kodiak by crew of the 110-foot Island Class patrol cutter Naushon. Once the initial violation was determined, officers embarked the vessel to collect evidence and document violations of state and federal law.
“Once the initial violation was discovered by our boarding team, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE) and AWT officers embarked the vessel to collect evidence and document violations of state and federal law,” Lt. Will Singletary, Naushon’s commanding officer, explained.
The 17th Coast Guard District’s fisheries mission is to promote a level playing field in Alaska’s commercial fisheries, protect resources, and ensure safety of life at sea. Inter-agency collaboration is crucial to detecting and documenting violations in the complex geographic and regulatory landscape of Alaska’s commercial fisheries.