5 people fined for commercial fishing during closed period

Alaska Wildlife Troopers say five people from Haines were sentenced Thursday in Juneau for commercial fishing during a closed period.

Troopers said in a dispatch the five defendants pleaded ‘no contest’ in Juneau District Court to charges of commercial fishing “over the line,” or outside of allowable boundaries.

Pleading ‘no contest’ means the defendants did not make admissions of guilt, but just chose not to fight the charges against them.

Troopers said all of the charges stemmed from violations in the area within District 15C north of Juneau during the July 8 through July 11 fishing period.

During those three days of fishing, a total of 175 commercial gillnetters caught a reported 340,000 Chum salmon valued at more than $2.3 million dollars, troopers said. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said those numbers include both legal and illegal catches.

Thomas Williams, 60, was fined $2,000 with $1,000 suspended and ordered to forfeit the value of the fish taken during the illegal set. He was also given one year of probation.

Woody Pahl, 23, was fined a total of $4,000 with $2,000 suspended for two charges, and he was ordered to forfeit the value of the fish taken during the two illegal sets. He was placed on probation for one year.

Brian Oriley, 64, was fined $3,000 with $1,500 suspended and ordered to forfeit 80 percent of the value of the fish taken during the illegal set. He was given on year probation.

Gerald Albecker, 58, was fined $2,000 with $1,000 suspended and ordered to forfeit the value of the fish taken during the illegal set. He was given one year probation.

Martin L. Smith, 42, was fined $3,000 with $1,000 suspended and ordered to forfeit $2,100 worth of illegally taken fish. In addition, Smith had a previous $2,500 in suspended fines added to his probation period of two years.

Troopers say three additional cases are still pending from this fishery.

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

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