Commercial fisherman charged with making false records and statements to cover up illegal fishing in Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska - U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a State of Washington resident was indicted by the federal grand jury in Anchorage, Alaska, for making false records under federal fish and wildlife laws, and making false material statements to a federal government agency.
According to the indictment, Steven Carr, 54, fishing out of Kodiak, Alaska, was the owner and operator of the Fishing Vessel (F/V) SEA MAC. In 2008, Carr held permits allowing him to participate in the entry-level Rockfish Pilot Program. In early July 2008, Carr made four voyages where he fished in Federal Statistical Area 630, which was unavailable to him. The indictment alleges that in order to cover up his illegal fishing, he stated in his Daily Fishing Logs that he fished in Area 640, which was further away from his homeport in Kodiak.
During those four voyages, Carr caught 761,421 pounds of Pacific Ocean Perch, which he sold for over $120,000.
The maximum penalty for violating the Lacey Act, which makes it illegal to make a false record related to fish, wildlife or plants valued over $350.00 and transported in interstate or foreign commerce is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for making a material false statement to a government agency is also up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Ms. Loeffler commends the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement, for the investigation of this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.