A Prince of Wales Island fishing guide received some pretty significant sentencing for repeatedly violating state regulations.
Here’s KTUU TV with more:
The owner of a southeast Alaska fishing charter service has been ordered to stay out of boats in Alaska waters for one year after pleading guilty to repeat fishing violations.
Alaska State Troopers say 75-year-old Stuart Merchant of Klawock (klah-WAHK) pleaded guilty this week to three counts of violating halibut regulations and one count of falsifying sport fish charter logbooks.
He was fined $13,000, with $8,000 suspended, plus $2,000 dollars for violating probation from a similar 2015 case.
He will forfeit a 26-foot (8-meter) guide boat and trailer to the state and his fishing and guiding privileges are suspended for 22 months. A 30-day jail sentence was suspended.
This is official Alaska State Troopers dispatch about Merchant’s punishment:
On 8-28-17, Stuart E. Merchant, age 75 of Klawock, AK pled guilty to four counts of wildlife crimes in the Prince of Wales District Court. In June, Alaska Wildlife Troopers in Craig charged Merchant with three counts of violating halibut regulations and one count of falsifying sport fish charter logbooks after they contacted him in illegal possession of sport caught halibut. Merchant is the owner and operator of “Forget Me Knot Charters” based on Prince of Wales Island. Merchant had been convicted of similar violations in 2015 and had his sport and guiding privileges revoked for the month of August 2016. During the time that Merchant was revoked, Wildlife Troopers observed and documented him actively fishing with non-resident friends. This led to additional fines for violating his probation and another revocation for the month of August 2017. As part of the most recent conviction, Merchant was fined a total of $13,000 with $8,000 of that suspended. He was fined an additional $2,000 dollars for violating the conditions of his probation from the original 2015 case. In addition, Merchant was sentenced to 30 days in jail with 30 days suspended, his fishing and guiding privileges are suspended for 22 months and for 12 of those months he may not enter a boat in Alaskan waters. Finally, Merchant’s 26 foot guide boat and boat trailer were forfeited to the state.