USCG, NOAA seize illegal halibut

Naushon boarding crew discovers unlogged halibut.

KODIAK– A U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement boarding team seized illegally caught fish near Homer last Wednesday, Nov. 30.

According to a press release, a USCG Cutter Naushon boarding team crew seized the catch and escorted the vessel to Homer where a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement representative took possession of the catch upon arrival at the pier.

The Naushon boarding team discovered the halibut aboard a commercial Individual Fishing Quota halibut vessel that was not documented in the vessel’s logbook. Additionally, the halibut was filleted to where the size and number of fish could not be determined.

The Naushon’s boarding officer alleged the fishermen violated federal regulation prohibiting “fishing for halibut except in accordance with the annual management measures published pursuant to 50 CFR 300.62.”

“This is another great example of the strong partnership between the Coast Guard and NOAA OLE,” Nauson commanding officer Lt. Will Singletary said in the press release. “Enforcing federal fisheries laws in Alaska by protecting living marine resources and ensuring fairness and sustainability in the fishing industry is taken very seriously by the Coast Guard. We will continue to maintain a presence at sea to ensure mariners are safe and acting in accordance with the law.”

A NOAA officer seized a total of 117 pounds of halibut, estimated at a net worth of $3,510, and issued a $2,400 fine to the vessel’s captain.

“Managing fish populations sustainably requires effective enforcement of our fishing regulations,” Jon Kurland, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Administrator, said in the press release. “We thank the U.S. Coast Guard for their vigilance and strong partnership in so many ways, including in fisheries enforcement actions like this that contribute to keeping Alaska’s fisheries fair for law-abiding fishermen.”

The Coast Guard conducts year-round fisheries law enforcement patrols in Alaska and is actively monitoring the IFQ for halibut and sablefish fisheries that close on Dec. 7.

Coast Guard Cutter Naushon is a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat homeported in Homer. The crew’s missions include ports and waterway security, national defense readiness, search and rescue, marine environmental protection, and protection of living marine resources.

The illegal retention of fish is being investigated by NOAA personnel.