Alaska fisherman pleads guilty to killing sperm whale, lying about sablefish catch

The F/V Pacific Bounty
The F/V Pacific Bounty | Photo courtesy of Permit Master
2 Min

An Alaska fisherman has pleaded guilty to illegally killing a sperm whale in 2020.

Dugan Paul Daniels, 54, of Coffman Cove, Alaska, U.S.A., violated the U.S. Endangered Species Act by having one of his crew shoot a sperm whale and then attempt to ram it with their vessel, the F/V Pacific Bounty.

Daniels also pleaded guilty to violating the Lacey Act by knowingly submitting false records about his commercial fishing activities. On two occasions, in October and November 2020, Daniels submitted false records about his commercial fishing activities, making it appear that he legally caught sablefish in federal waters when he actually harvested the fish illegally in Chatham Strait and Clarence Strait – in Alaska state waters.

Daniels is scheduled to be sentenced on 16 September 2024 and will face a maximum penalty of six years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors, according to the office of U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker of the District of Alaska, which investigated the case along with the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement.

In a plea agreement submitted 14 May 2024, Daniels agreed to plead guilty to one count of false labeling – a felony – and one illegal take count – a misdemeanor. He agreed to pay a fine of USD 25,000 (EUR 23,300), perform 80 hours of community service, and serve a sentence of no more than six months’ imprisonment. Additionally, Daniels will be banned from fishing commercially for one year after his release from prison, and his fishing activities afterward will be tracked by the national Marine Fisheries service via a vessel-monitoring system. 

As a result of the agreement, Daniels will not face further charges related to his offenses, and NOAA will not initiate any civil administrative enforcement action or proceeding against him related to the incidents.

SeafoodSource Premium

Become a Premium member to unlock the rest of this article.

Continue reading ›

Already a member? Log in ›


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500