Trooper Report Week of January 22, 2017 - P.O.W. Report

Monday, January 30, 2017

Trooper Report Week of January 22, 2017

Location: Prince of Wales Island

Type: Burglary – Second Degree, Theft – Third Degree, Criminal Mischief – Fifth Degree
Dispatch Text:

On 1/24/17 at approximately 0715 hours, Alaska State Troopers on Prince of Wales Island received a report of burglary and theft at the city office in Hydaburg. The complainant reported that at some point during the night, an unknown individual kicked in the back door of the building causing approximately $150.00 damage, and then stole approximately $550.00 worth of cash from one of the offices. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Alaska State Troopers POW post at 907-826-2918.

Location: Craig

Type: Overharvest of Commercial Geoduck Clams
Dispatch Text:

On 1/24/17, Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Prince of Wales Post, issued a citation to Laith Barnhill ( 53 y/o) of Ketchikan for harvesting an over limit of geoduck clams while participating in a commercial fishery. Alaska Department of Fish and Game set a harvest limit during the 12/8/16 commercial fishery of Geoduck clams to 300 pounds per fisherman. Barnhill has a mandatory appearance in the Prince of Wales District Court.

Location: Prince of Wales Island

Type: Conviction: Over-limit of Sea Cucumber Divers per Vessel / False Information on ADF&G Fish Ticket - Update

Dispatch Text:

On November 29, 2016 Alaska Wildlife Troopers closed out a year-long commercial fishing case against Ronald C. Blake, age 47 of Cordova, after he was convicted in the Prince of Wales court of two misdemeanor charges of failing to register for a commercial fishery and providing false information on Alaska Department of Fish and Game fish tickets. He was fined a combined total of $20,000 with $10,000 suspended. Blake, who operates the Fishing Vessel Ace as a fishing vessel and a commercial tender, falsified records from the commercial sea cucumber fishery.

During the commercial sea cucumber fishery, commercial divers are allowed to harvest 2,000 pounds of product, per fisherman during each fishing period which typically last a day and a half. Most divers get the bulk of their allotment on the first day and then after weighing the product, harvest the remaining amount during the last half day. Any amount of product that exceeds 2000 pounds per fisherman is considered an overage and is forfeited to the state of Alaska. If an overage is excessive, it may result in a criminal charge against the diver, but for minor overages there is no consequence to the fisherman. This is where the problems started for Blake. Instead of reporting the overages to ADFG as required, AWT Troopers were able to show that Blake was creating a “slush” fund with the excess sea cucumbers. If a fisherman that delivered product to him came up a little short, he would slide the needed amount over to that fisherman to make sure he delivered exactly 2000 pounds. The more “legal” product that Blake purchased as a commercial tender, the more he was able to deliver to his processor and thus make more money.

The F/V Ace supported three commercially permitted divers during the fishery in 2015; Blake, McKenna O’Toole and Timothy Smith. When Blake or O’Toole needed a break, Smith would take their place in the water. What AWT noticed was that Smith always made his 2000 pound quota but spent very little time in the actual water. The two experienced divers would easily harvest their 2000 pound quota and then some. The additional harvest would then be placed on to Smith’s quota and sold, thus insuring that the divers off of the F/V ACE always harvested and sold the maximum amount of product possible. That is called “party fishing”. Because the commercial sea cucumber fishery is a competitive fishery, this type of activity is illegal.

In the last two years, Wildlife Troopers have conducted seven “routine” vessel inspections on the F/V Ace as he was the holder of seven CFEC permits in 2016 and is involved in some of the most lucrative fisheries in the state to include halibut, black cod, herring and salmon. The F/V Ace, a 49 foot limit seiner, operates between Prince William Sound and southern southeast most of the year either fishing or operating as a commercial tender.

Location: Prince of Wales Island

Type: Fail to return permit hunt report
Dispatch Text:

On 1/28/17, Alaska Wildlife Troopers from Prince of Wales Island cited Daniel Peters, 24, of Klawock for failing to return his permit hunt harvest report from the fall 2016 RM038 moose hunt. Fine for this offense is $110.00 through the Prince of Wales court.

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