An associate of a former fisheries aide is now himself in trouble for a similar violation of false reporting of sablefish or black cod catches from the Gulf of Alaska.
Charges were filed against Freddie Joe Hankins on October 31 for making a false statement and a false record of fish sold in interstate commerce. Federal fisheries investigators allege that, sometime around September of 2006, Hankins harvested about 6306 pounds of black cod that were counted toward his Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) for the Central Gulf of Alaska area, when the fish were actually caught in the Western Yakutat area. That fish allegedly had an ex-vessel value of $32,533 and was eventually transported across state lines from where it was landed in Yakutat to Seattle.
Charging documents say the 46-year old Hankins of Cove, Oregon operated the Petersburg-based fishing vessel ‘Kamilar.’ The navigational computer indicated that the ‘Kamilar’ fished in the West Yakutat area while the logbook and IFQ landing reports showed the fish was caught in the Central Gulf.
Investigators also allege three other incidents in April and May of 2007 in which Hankins allegedly falsely reported more black cod catches. Over 59,600 pounds of black cod worth nearly $224,000 was reported as being caught in the Central Gulf when it was actually caught off of Yakutat. Although, it appears that Hankins is only being charged for September 2006 landing.
Investigators also say that they interviewed Hankins in July of 2009 and he told them that the IFQ program did not consider historic fishing grounds when an arbitrary line was drawn. Hankins allegedly said “the fish don’t give a damn where the line is.”
The charging documents do not specifically name Arne Fuglvog, the former North Pacific Fishery Management Council member and U.S. Senate fisheries aide, but they do name his company Kamilar Incorporated which at one point featured Fuglvog as half-owner. State business records indicate that Cynthia Fuglvog became full owner of the company sometime before April of 2007.
Arne Fuglvog faces sentencing February 7th for a similar falsification of catch records in 2005. He’ll likely be sentenced to ten months in prison, pay a $50,000 fine, and ordered to give $100,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for species and habitat restoration.
Hankins was ordered to put up a $5,000 unsecured bond and surrender his passport. His next court hearing in U.S. District Court in Anchorage is this Tuesday, December 20th.