Fisherman convicted of shooting endangered sea lion

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Chignik Lagoon fisherman was convicted Friday of shooting an endangered Steller sea lion, as well as violating two federal firearms laws.

The jury in U.S. District Court deliberated about three hours before returning the verdicts against Stanley Roy Pederson.

The decision came after a three-day trial in which several crewmen on Pedersen's boat testified their skipper shot at sea lions on a regular basis with a 12-gauge shotgun, killing at least one of the animals. They said Pedersen told them the sea lions were stealing his fish.

Pedersen has a seiner, the Kaylee, that he uses to fish for salmon off the Alaska Peninsula.

The charge of illegally taking the endangered animals is just a misdemeanor, carrying a maximum prison term of one year.

But the jury also convicted Pedersen of being a felon in possession of a firearm and being a prohibited person possessing a firearm. The latter charge stems from a conviction for domestic violence.

Those crimes are felonies carrying a prison term of up to ten years, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Bottini.

Pedersen's sentencing is set for April 5.

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