Shadows and fog
I was sad to hear this month about a plea deal involving 2003 National Fisherman Highliner Arne Fuglvog.
Like most of the people in the industry with whom I talked about this case, I was perplexed and downcast about it. In a time that I believe the fishing industry is in transition toward a better perception by the American public, this kind of news hurts us all.
Arne reportedly signed a plea deal in early April in which he admitted to falsifying catch records. The arrangement includes a sentence of 10 months in prison and $150,000 in fines. However, an addendum to the plea allows for a provision to decrease his sentence in exchange for information. His sentencing is scheduled for mid-November.
Arne's reputation has been one of dedication to the resource as well as to the fleets. He was president of the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association in his hometown of Petersburg, Alaska; served as a North Pacific Fishery Management Council member for three years; put his name in the running to head NMFS following the outgoing William Hogarth and acting director James Balsiger two years ago, before Eric Schwaab was named for the task; and most recently was an adviser to Alaska U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
He is one of a few fishermen who invest in the industry by representing it in government. That is surely no easy task, and it is rarely one of glory.
I hate to hear about any fisherman defying the rules, though without a trial we won't know exactly what happened in Arne's case. But on the face of it, people will remember the guilty plea. If indeed he did violate the Lacey Act, then he should face the ramifications of breaking the law. If one has to find a bright spot in all of this, it's that reportedly $100,000 of his fine is slated for enhancing fisheries habitat in the Gulf of Alaska under the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
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In lighter news, we are coming up on our annual tribute to U.S. commercial fishing fleets with our Crew Shots spread. Please send photos taken this year to email@example.com, and be sure to include Crew Shots 12 in the subject line. We will also need to know names of those pictured (from left to right), the boat, home port, location (if not the home port), fishery and gear type. The more information you include and the larger your image, the better your chances are for getting into the magazine or on the cover!
Submit slides or prints addressed to me at National Fisherman, 121 Free St., Portland, ME 04101 and write Crew Shots on the envelope. We will scan and return them to you.
The deadline for Crew Shots submissions is Oct. 31, 2011.
– Jessica Hathaway
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