Stop stealing crab

I have lived in Juneau and sport fished for Dungeness crab for more than 35 years. I enjoy the activity on the water and my catch, when I get some, gives my family a nutritious fresh meal. Ever since I started fishing with pots for Dungeness, people have felt it is perfectly okay to steal crabs and/or the pots whenever they have the desire to get “free” crab or add to their supply of pots. Needless to say, it is very irritating to pull up an empty pot when I know there should be crab in it, or, worse yet, to not find a pot that should be there. If this is being done by newcomers to the area and they do not know it is illegal to tamper with some one’s fishing gear, I suggest they familiarize themselves with the law. If it is being done by longtime locals, then they have a strong disrespect for the law and the needs of others. A recent incident with me comes to mind. I fish for crabs in the Gastineau Channel south of town. Monday, I set out three pots in close proximity to each other and I checked them Thursday. The first pot held six nice legal crab. The second pot had no bait remaining and one sub-legal crab in the pot. The third pot was gone. My suspicion is that the pots in this area are being robbed by people going to and coming from their cabins on the Taku River. I suspect these individuals did not steal my third pot but in their haste to leave the area with their illegal booty, they simply threw the pot overboard in water deeper than the length of the buoy line and it went straight to the bottom, never to be used again. They might just as well have stolen it. These individuals are either too cheap to buy their own pots (upwards of $200 for a good pot including all the parts), they don’t want to take the time to put up bait, or they just don’t have any respect for other people’s property and food. I guarantee that if I ever catch one of these thieves checking my pot, they will be in for a serious attitude adjustment. If I can’t do it, I’ll send the Alaska State Troopers to their residence and have them let a local judge give them a rude awakening.

Steve Peterson,

Juneau

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