Popular Sitka lodge fined for fishing violations

13 original charges lead to $20,000 final levy, prohibition on unguided trips

A popular Southeast Alaska fishing lodge has been fined $20,000 and placed on probation for aiding illegal sport fishing activity.

 

Sitka Superior Court Judge David George accepted a plea deal on Thursday that fined Dove Island Lodge Sitka Sport Fishing Charters LLC $60,000 with $40,000 suspended and placed the company on informal probation for five years. Conditions of the probation prohibit the company from taking unguided trips to Salmon Creek, Politofski Lake, Plotnikof Lake, Goudling Lake — four locations where violations occurred.

The company was originally charged with 13 class ‘A’ misdemeanors after a covert Alaska Wildlife Trooper Investigation in June of 2009 found an employee retained an over limit of king salmon, yellow eye and halibut; failed to retain non-pelagic rockfish; made false entries in saltwater sport fishing logbooks; and fished more poles than paying clients from a vessel engaged in sport fishing charter activities, among other violations.

The investigation also found that the owner of Dove Island Lodge, Harold Duane Lambeth, 44, unlawfully furnished shellfish to guests at the lodge and failed to comply with logbook reporting requirements, both class ‘A’ misdemeanors.

Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson argued in charging documents that Dove Island Lodge should be held responsible for the employee’s unlawful conduct for purposes of corporate liability.

He wrote that Alaska state law allows corporations to be held legally accountable for an employee’s illegal conduct, “if the conduct is the conduct of its agent and within the scope of the agent’s employment and on behalf of the organization.”

Dove Island Lodge pleaded guilty to one count of sport fishing operator aiding in the commission of a violation, a class ‘A’ misdemeanor, in the plea deal reached Dec. 8.

All other charges against the company and Lambeth were dismissed. If the company breaks the conditions of probation, their sport fishing guide/operator license will be revoked for one year.

The employee was sentenced earlier this year in April following a plea deal.

Eric J. Morisky, 52, who was the sport fish charter guide during the undercover fishing trip on the ‘Island Spirit’ that lasted four day and three nights at Dove Island Lodge, was ordered by the same judge to serve time in jail, perform community service and pay several thousand dollars as a fine, according to electronic court records. Morisky’s sport fish guiding license was revoked for one year, and he was banned from purchasing a license for one calendar year.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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