More details have emerged on a Kodiak skipper convicted last week of poaching Pacific Cod along the Aleutian Chain. Seventy-three-year-old Thomas Millman, owner of the fishing vessel Four Daughters, pleaded guilty last Friday to four counts of illegally taking fish in closed waters. He was fined $117,000 and sentenced to four years probation. Millman now resides in the state of Minnesota.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan Schoder says the case shows the federal government’s commitment to enforce fishing laws in Alaska.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick in Anchorage and the culmination of a multi-year investigation. The lead investigator was Special Agent Mike Killary of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Kodiak-based enforcement division. He said Millman was discovered fishing in closed waters after he accidentally logged himself fishing with his onboard electronic vessel monitoring system.
Killary says that despite being warned by NOAA officials Millman continued to take the Four Daughters into closed waters where he caught Pacific Cod and sold to a Akutan-based fish processor. In 2005 alone, he delivered a quarter million pounds of cod, valued at about $73,000.
Alaska State Troopers subsequently caught the Four Daughters fishing in closed waters and alerted federal officials.
The area where Millman was fishing is closed to conserve a major food source for the protected Steller Sea Lion population.
Millman was prosecuted under the Lacey Act which allows federal prosecutors to charge suspected poachers in state waters. In a prepared statement, U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler called the Lacey Act "an essential tool for protecting one of our nation’s most valuable resources."
Millman’s attorney, John Murtagh of Anchorage, declined to comment.