Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Troopers escort Bristol Bay gillnetter to port, seize nets and catch after attempts to hide vessel ID

From the Alaska State Troopers:

Location: Naknek
Type: Commercial fish closed waters, hindering prosecution
On 6/27/11 at 1215 hours, Bristol Bay Wildlife Troopers on aircraft patrol observed a drift gillnet vessel commercial fishing in closed waters outside the open Naknek section. As the aircraft circled to identify the vessel, the skipper, later identified as Steven D. Lewis, 60, of Anchorage, used his body to obscure the vessel's Alaska Department of Fish and Game numbers from view while the crew pulled the net from the water. As the aircraft continued to circle, two crewmen, later identified as Tobbie J. Cook, 55, of Petersburg, and Cody W. Dishon, 22, of Palmer, stood on each rail of the boat and used their bodies to obscure the vessel's ADF&G numbers from view of the AWT aircraft. The pilot was eventually able to observe the vessel's name as the F/V Steinbit. The crew was observed to stand, blocking the ADF&G numbers for approximately 55 minutes until the arrival of an AWT patrol skiff. The vessel subsequently was escorted to Naknek where the vessel's nets and illegal catch of 3,000 pounds of salmon were seized. Lewis was cited for commercial fishing in closed waters and also for commercial fishing with obscured ADF&G numbers. The two crewmen were each issued mandatory court citations for hindering prosecution in the second degree. Arraignment on all charges is set for 7/15/11 in Naknek District Court.

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