Alaska Wildlife Troopers seized more than 16 tons of salmon they report were caught illegally in Dog Fish Bay by four commercial seine fishermen in late July.

According to a dispatch released earlier this week, a wildlife trooper on the patrol vessel Augustine was in Dog Fish Bay, just south of Homer, on July 20, watching areas both open and closed to commercial fishing. He observed five boats — F/V Little Star, F/V Relentless, F/V North Star, F/V Star Wind and F/V Maranatha — driving fish out of closed waters in order to catch them. The Maranatha was used to transport some of the illegal catch, while the others were actively fishing.

“Four commercial fishing seine vessels were observed to be working together to drive salmon out of the closed water area towards the open water area, and illegally harvesting and transporting those fish,” the dispatch states. “The vessels themselves as well as hand plungers were used by the fishermen in closed waters to drive the fish. The fish were caught by a set that occurred in open and closed waters.”

The waters at the mouth of the creek were closed to allow returning salmon to spawn.

Troopers seized 33,328 pounds of salmon delivered to a processor vessel, mostly chum salmon.

According to the dispatch, Eric Winslow, 61, Paul Roth, 35, and Mark Roth, 64, all of Homer, and Robert Roth, 39, of Anchor Point, are being charged with a series of counts related to illegal salmon fishing.

Winslow was charged with driving salmon, failure to provide information to a fish transporter, and failure to display vessel license numbers.

Paul Roth was charged with driving salmon, commercial fishing in closed waters, and failure to provide information to the fish transporter.

Robert Roth was charged with failure to obtain a fish transporter permit, failure to complete fish tickets and unlawful possession of commercial fish.

Mark Roth was charged with driving salmon, failure to complete a fish ticket, and failure to display vessel license numbers.

The fishermen could be required to pay a hefty amount in fines, face jail time or have their commercial licenses revoked.

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Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

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