Fishing guides and deckhands for a Southeast charter operator have pleaded guilty to numerous sport fishing offenses that undercover Alaska Wildlife Troopers documented during a sting operation last year, according to the state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals.
The men, who worked for Elfin Cove Eagle Charters Alaska, were given fines in Sitka this week for offenses that included exceeding salmon and halibut limits, fishing with too many rods and wasting sport caught fish.
The charter company itself was charged criminally and previously pleaded guilty to one consolidated count of sport fishing guide violations and was fined $60,000, according to prosecutors.
"There were a whole lot of violations that were happening here," Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson said. "One of the issues is the egregious nature of all the violations.
The guides who each pleaded guilty Wednesday to a consolidated count of sport fish guide violations are:
• Joshua Baymiller, 35, of New York. Ordered to pay $5,000.
• Michael Moon, 52, of Oregon. Ordered to pay $5,000.
• Riley Niewenhuis, 29, of South Dakota. Ordered to pay $3,500.
• Ken Ecklund, 52, of Washington. Ordered to pay $3,500.
Two deckhands were also convicted in connection with the sting. Stuart Glendenning, 54, of Washington, pleaded guilty to exceeding halibut limits and was ordered to pay $1,500, prosecutors said. Tyler Ecklund, 23, of Washington, pleaded guilty to fishing with too many lines and was also ordered to pay $1,500.
Peterson said there have been a number of recent undercover operations around the state that have turned up multiple violations by guides and charter operators.
"They're really expected to be the stewards of these resources," Peterson said. "Clients may not always catch as many fish as they would like or have as good a time as they would like, but you can't justify the need to show clients a good time at the expense of state resources."
Find James Halpin online at adn.com/contact/jhalpin or call him at 257-4589.
By JAMES HALPIN