Southeast Sport Fishing Guide fined $8,000 for Allowing Clients to Fish for an Over Limit of Halibut
September 24, 2008
(Anchorage, AK) – Johnathan Rodriguez, age 35 of Ketchikan, Alaska, entered a guilty plea on September 24, 2008 in Craig District Court to two counts of allowing sport fishing charter clients to keep an over limit of halibut. Superior Court Judge David George sentenced Rodriguez to pay a fine of $20,000 with $12,000 suspended, revoked his guide's license and fishing license for a period of 13 months with 12 months suspended (Rodriguez is prohibited from guiding from May 1, 2009 – June 1, 2009), and placed Rodriguez on probation for a period of three years.
Rodriguez was charged for aiding in the commission of sport fishing violations committed by charter clients on August 22, 2007. Rodriguez expressly told two clients, who unbeknown to him were undercover Alaska Wildlife Troopers, to continue catching and keep halibut after they had already retained two halibut each. The limit for halibut in Alaska at this time was two fish per person per day. Rodriguez placed the halibut in what he called a "live well" and then released extra halibut at the end of the day, including two halibut that had been gaffed and were dead upon release. This allowed Rodriguez to ensure that all of his clients took home two fish each and allowed him to select from the largest halibut while killing and wasting the smaller halibut.
Rodriguez was also cited for cutting the dorsal spike from a shark and then throwing the shark overboard. This action by Rodriguez resulted in the shark dying and being wasted. The undercover Troopers also observed Rodriguez use a paintball gun to shoot at waterfowl.
The terms of the plea agreement were negotiated by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Peterson of the Office of Special Prosecutions. Mr. Peterson indicated that the goal of this sentence was to ensure that Rodriguez complies with sport fishing guiding laws in the future. "This sentence was also designed to encourage other sport fishing guides to consider the risks and costs of violating the law."
The conditions of probation provide that Mr. Rodriguez commit no new fish and game violations, pay all fines on time and surrender his fishing and guide's licenses to the Ketchikan troopers on May 1, 2009. Any violations of these conditions could result in Mr. Rodriguez loosing his guide's license for a longer period of time.
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