Southeast Alaska Harvester Pleads Guilty to Falsifying Records, Endangering Whale

Image: U.S. Department of Justice.

A 54-year-old commercial fisherman from Southeast Alaska has pleaded guilty to false labeling of fishing records in violation of U.S. law.

The fisherman admitted to violating the Lacey Act, which prohibits trade in wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold, and illegally taking a sperm whale in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The case was investigated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Alaska said that Dugan Paul Daniels of Coffman Cove is to be sentenced Sept. 16. He faces a maximum penalty of six years in prison.

U.S. Attorney for Alaska S. Lane Tucker said June 6 that a federal district court judge would determine any sentence for Daniels after considering statutory factors.

Court records show that Daniels knowingly submitted false records about his commercial fishing activities to make it appear that he legally caught sablefish in federal waters, when in fact he harvested the fish illegally in state waters, namely Chatham Strait and Clarence Strait.

Daniels also knowingly took an endangered sperm whale by having a member of his crew shoot the whale and try to ram the whale with his fishing vessel, the Pacific Bounty, while southwest of Yakobi Island, in the Alexander Archipelago of the Alaska Panhandle.