Alaska Wildlife Troopers say they seized six commercial drift gillnet boats recently after they were spotted fishing well outside the Togiak salmon district of Bristol Bay.
Troopers identified the six boats as the Five Gs, the Skammin, the Kalena Annielyse, the Good Deal, the Inuli and the Hammer Time.
A news release posted yesterday said troopers on July 8 conducted a patrol of the Kulukak Bay area after receiving reports of illegal fishing.
A trooper few the area in a Piper Super Cub and discovered multiple vessels operating gear one to two nautical miles outside the district, the news release said.
"The trooper photographed and documented the locations where boats were fishing, and was able to land on the water and interview one of the fishermen," the release said.
A few days later, troopers executed search warrants resulting in the seizure of the six boats.
Several people aboard the vessels were charged with commercial fishing in closed waters, a misdemeanor.
All those charged were said to be from Togiak. They include:
• Rodney Gosuk, 39, owner and permit holder on the Five Gs
• Anthony Poulsen, 46, owner and operator of the Skammin
• Norma Ayojiak, 44, permit holder on the Skammin
• Michael Poulsen, 21, crewmember on the Skammin
• Alvaro Sutton, 35, owner and permit holder on the Kalena Annielyse
• Kevin Harless, 52, owner and permit holder on the Good Deal
• William Byayuk, 22, owner and permit holder on the Inuli
• Leroy Fox, 54, owner and operator of the Hammer Time
• Will Fox, 18, permit holder on the Hammer Time
Most already have pled guilty and been sentenced in Dillingham District Court, troopers said. The troopers didn't specify what the sentences involve.
A crewman fell off the commercial fishing vessel Matt Michelle and died near King Cove, the Alaska State Troopers report.
Troopers said the U.S. Coast Guard notified them of the mishap shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday.
Here are further details from a press release:
Preliminary investigation revealed the vessel was occupied by two persons, the skipper and one crewmember. As the anchor was being retrieved a large swell hit the side of the vessel causing the victim to be thrown into the water. The skipper, identified as Raymond Leslie Koso Jr., 48, of King Cove, radioed a distress call as he attempted to rescue the victim from the sea. Koso deployed a life ring and other means but was unsuccessful as the current carried the victim farther from the vessel. Koso eventually managed to reach the victim with a long line and was able to tow him closer to shore. After donning a survival suit, Koso entered the water and pulled the victim ashore. Eventually, Koso was joined onshore by crewmembers of the fishing vessel Miss Roxanne, who responded to the distress call. Efforts to resuscitate the victim were unsuccessful. The body of the victim, identified as Rudy Paul Dushkin Jr., 53, of King Cove, was returned to King Cove aboard the Matt Michelle and efforts are under way for the body to be sent to the state medical examiner's office in Anchorage for further investigation. No personal floatation devices were worn at the time of the incident.