restaurant owner and commercial fisherman sentenced for lacey act violation
Anchorage, Alaska – United States Attorney Karen Loeffler announced that on October 13, 2010, a Juneau fisherman and the former owner of a Juneau restaurant were sentenced in federal court in Juneau for violating the Lacey Act by engaging in commercial transactions for halibut that was caught for subsistence purposes.
United States District Judge Timothy M. Burgess sentenced David Skrzynski, 58, of Juneau, to 12 months in prison, and Jason Maroney, 39, of Seattle, to 10 months in prison. Judge Burgess ordered that Maroney’s imprisonment be served as community confinement.
Maroney, the owner and operator of the former Doc Water’s Pub in Juneau, took part in a continuing scheme of purchasing subsistence-caught halibut for resale in the restaurant, a violation of federal regulations. Maroney pled guilty to purchasing subsistence fish from two sources.
Skrzynski, a commercial salmon fishermen, provided fish to Maroney. Skrzynski holds a valid Subsistence Halibut Registration Certificate (commonly known as a SHARC card), which allows him to fish for halibut for subsistence purposes. However, federal regulations prohibit the commercial sale of subsistence halibut. A second fisherman who provided halibut to Maroney is now deceased.
Maroney pled guilty to transactions involving 4,000 pounds of illegally-caught halibut, of which over 3,700 pounds was provided by Skrzynski. Maroney paid over $16,500 for the halibut. Maroney paid $4 to $5 per pound for the fish, significantly less than he would have paid for legally-harvested halibut.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Burgess recognized the seriousness of the case by stating that this type of violation “absolutely undermines the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) ability to manage the fishery.”
Ms. Loeffler commended NMFS’s Office of Law Enforcement, Alaska Enforcement Division, for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Skrzynski and Maroney.