Looks like Fishing Company of Alaska, which operates a fleet of big trawlers in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, has settled up a slew of civil fisheries violations.
The company has agreed to pay a big fine – almost $450,000.
Here's a press release the feds sent out today:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Nov. 25, 2008
Seattle Group to Pay Nearly $450,000 Settlement for Alaska Fisheries Violations
NOAA's Office of the General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation has announced a settlement agreement with the Fishing Company of Alaska and the captains and the owner of the F/V Alaska Juris for fisheries violations occurring from 2002 through 2004.
The Fishing Company of Alaska, Leon J. Duvall, Christian Ralph Thome Jr., Brian Madruga, and Alaska Juris Inc. agreed to pay $449,700 to settle the charges against them. They admitted violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, including interfering with observer sampling, tampering with observer gear, failing to assist observers, mishandling prohibited species, fishing in a habitat conservation area, and fishing during a closed period.
"Protecting the integrity of the observer data collection procedure helps ensure the integrity of the fisheries management program," said NOAA Enforcement special agent Mike Killary. "Our certified groundfish observers serve a vital role in providing real time data to fisheries managers that allows them to effectively conserve and manage Alaska's fishery resources."
NOAA's Fisheries Service law enforcement agents conducted the investigation that led to the civil administrative prosecution of the Fishing Company of Alaska and the vessel owner and captains.
"The regulations help protect observers from any form of interference that could undermine their ability to collect unbiased data," Killary said.