April 23, 2010
Vancouver, Washington resident Joe Kulavik, the owner and operator of Elfin Cove Eagle Charters, entered a guilty plea on behalf of the corporation to one consolidated count of sport fish guide violations. The corporation was fined $150,000 with $90,000 suspended, informal probation for a period of three years, with the conditions that the corporation commit no new fish and game violations and obey all court orders. Four boats used to commit violations had been seized during the investigation. As part of the plea agreement, the State agreed to return the four vessels that were seized.
In August and September of 2009, Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT) conducted an investigation into the charter company where Troopers witnessed violations committed by four separate charter captains employed by the corporation. The violations included sport fishing guides fishing for and retaining halibut, the taking of over limit of salmon and halibut, fishing an excess number of rods, waste of sport caught fish, use of sport caught fish for bait, failure to retain non-pelagic rock fish and failure to accurately record the daily catch in the guide's saltwater log book. All of the above offenses are class A misdemeanor offenses that carry a maximum fine of $200,000 per count with respect to corporate liability.
The AWT Wildlife Investigations Unit received assistance from the Department of Law, Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals; National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement in Juneau; game wardens with the Washington Division of Fish and Wildlife; game wardens with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Bureau of Investigation.
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