State files charges against vessel for illegal bottom trawling near Kodiak

The State of Alaska has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against a vessel operator caught illegally trawling near the south end of Kodiak Island, according to a press release filed by the U.S. Coast Guard. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement tipped the Coast Guard and Alaska Wildlife Troopers that a ship was allegedly using non-pelagic, or bottom trawl gear in the Barnabas closure area, where bottom trawl gear is restricted. 

The USS Naushon anchored in Women’s Bay, a few days after investigating the alleged trawler, April 16, 2023. (Brian Venua/KMXT)

The Coast Guard responded by sending the USS Naushon. The crew boarded the 88-foot fishing vessel on its way to Kodiak, and found bottom trawling gear onboard. The Coast Guard press release did not name the vessel. 

According to the press release, the incident occurred April 12. Federal and state authorities launched an investigation before the state filed criminal misdemeanor charges a month later, on May 12. 

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