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Press Release

Commercial fisherman pleads guilty to falsifying fishing records and taking an endangered sperm whale

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – A Southeast Alaska man pleaded guilty today to one count of false labeling, a Lacey Act violation, and one count of illegally taking a sperm whale, an Endangered Species Act violation.

According to court documents, Dugan Paul Daniels, 54, of Coffman Cove, knowingly submitted false records about his commercial fishing activities to make it appear that he lawfully caught sablefish in federal waters, when, in fact, he harvested the fish illegally in State of Alaska waters, namely, in Chatham Strait and Clarence Strait, respectively. Daniels also knowingly took an endangered sperm whale by having a crewman shoot the whale and try to ram the whale with his fishing vessel the Pacific Bounty while southwest of Yakobi Island.

Daniels is scheduled to be sentenced on September 16, 2024, and faces a maximum penalty of six years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska made the announcement.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ainsley McNerney and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney/NOAA General Counsel Enforcement Attorney Andrea Hattan are prosecuting the case.

Updated June 6, 2024