ANCHORAGE -- The captain and crew of a fishing vessel were cited for illegally taking tanner crab from the Bering Sea, Alaska State Troopers said Wednesday.
On Sunday, the day after the weeklong fishery closed, Fish and Wildlife Protection Troopers from Dutch Harbor cited the crew of the fishing vessel Alaskan Beauty for the unlawful taking, possessing and transportation of tanner crab, trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson said. The crew also was cited for illegally operating commercial tanner crab pot gear before the April 1 opening of the fishery.
The vessel's captain Frederick ''Rick'' Alvarez of Camano Island, Wash., was cited, along with Dan V. Nguyen of Dutch Harbor, Andrew B. Knapp of Gig Harbor, Wash., David D. Riccio of Ashworth, Conn., Victor P. Swan of Portland, Ore. and Larry L. Johnson of Shoreline, Wash.
Wilkinson said that sometime in late March, Fish and Wildlife troopers discovered what they believed to be a ''prospecting'' crab pot. It is against state law to prospect in a fishery anytime 14 days before an opening, Wilkinson said.
Troopers saw a crab pot buoy wrapped in a black plastic garbage bag and retrieved the pot, which was identified as belonging to the Alaskan Beauty, according to Wilkinson. He said authorities were waiting for the Alaskan Beauty crew when it arrived in Akutan Sunday to deliver 194,867 pounds of tanner crab.
Troopers turned the crab over to an Akutan processor in exchange for a receipt listing the value at $360,503.95 to be held by the state until the case is resolved, Wilkinson said.
Both citations are misdemeanors, and convictions carry a maximum penalty of a year imprisonment and $15,000 fines, as well as forfeiture of fish and gear, Wilkinson said. The crew is expected to be arraigned in district court sometime this month, Wilkinson said.
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