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Gillnetter sentenced after fishing in closed waters

Posted: March 2, 2012 - 1:11am

The Alaska Wildlife Troopers announced Thursday that a 40-year-old Juneau man pleaded guilty this week to commercial fishing during a closed period.

Christopher J. Place entered his plea in Juneau District Court on Tuesday, according to an Trooper dispatch.

Place was fined a total of $10,000 with $5,000 suspended and placed on probation for three years. He was also ordered to forfeit about $8,000 worth of illegally taken fish and took six demerit points against his commercial salmon permit.

Three additional charges of commercial fishing during a closed period were dismissed by the Juneau District Attorney’s Office as part of the plea agreement.

Troopers said in the dispatch that the charges stemmed from two dates in July of 2011 in which Place was observed and videotaped on four separate “drifts” operating commercial fishing gear in a closed waters.

The first violation was in district 11A north of Juneau and last three occurred in district 11B south of Juneau.

Place was one of three fisherman observed operating salmon gillnet gear in closed waters on multiple occasions after Wildlife Troopers in Juneau received complaints from other fishermen in the area.

One of the three men, Ryan Gullufsen of Juneau, earlier pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts and in open sentencing was fined $24,000 with $20,000 suspended and placed on probation for two years. He was also ordered to forfeit $3,800 worth of illegally taken salmon. Gullufsen was assessed a total of 12 demerit points after his conviction and as a result the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission suspended him, his permit and his boat from participating in any Southeast commercial drift gillnet fisheries for 12 months.

The remaining defendant, Aaron Place, has been charged with two misdemeanor counts and has a court appearance on March 8.

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