KODIAK -- A forfeited 52-foot longliner is being sold by sealed bid after federal officials got no offers at a public auction a few weeks ago.
The fishing vessel Nine was seized by the National Marine Fisheries Service last September. It was forfeited by Lloyd Collins of Kenai after he was convicted in May of illegally harvesting and retaining halibut.
Collins pleaded guilty to fishing out of season, filleting on board and not reporting individual fishing quota landings. He is currently serving a six-month sentence in federal prison, NMFS special agent Ron Antaya said. Collins lost his halibut individual fishing quota shares and his boat.
Collins built the vessel in late 1997 specifically for longlining, Antaya said. In February 1999, two weeks before the halibut season started, Collins went fishing for Pacific cod. He retained the halibut he caught, filleted it, placed it in garbage bags and hid it in totes on deck under ice and cod, Antaya said. When Collins ran out of herring, he actually used halibut as bait, Antaya said.
On March 1, 1999, NMFS agents boarded the Nine after Collins sailed into Homer, totes on deck, at 3 p.m., according to Antaya. ''He was pretty brazen at that point,'' Antaya said.
Collins was indicted on four counts -- two for 1998 and two for 1999. He entered guilty pleas to the latter two.
The Nine was put up for sale in a public auction, but according to Antaya, no one showed up. A bid of any size could have bought the vessel at that time.
The NMFS is now selling the vessel by sealed bid. Once again, there is no minimum bid. Bid packages can be obtained until Wednesday. The boat is moored in Kenai.
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