The Sitka District Court has fined Silver Bay Seafoods $16,000 for tendering what State Troopers estimate to be over 3,000 pounds of undersized Tanner crab earlier this year.
The judgement was signed by Magistrate Leonard Devaney on Wednesday (11-20-13).
In February, Alaska Trooper Tim Hall discovered the unlawful commercial Tanner crab while monitoring the offload of a vessel, called the Grace C. at Silver Bay Seafoods. Out of 1,200 crab that Hall measured, 10% were found undersized and seized – the majority donated to the Pioneer Home and a portion retained for evidence.
According to court records, Bert McCay operated the Grace C. for Silver Bay. McCay says that three Silver Bay employees were on-board pitching crab and taking measurements using 5.5 Loomis crab gauges.
Hall also interview Eric Anderson – the new fleet manager for Silver Bay Seafoods. Anderson claimed responsibility for buying and tendering operations. He says he found undersized crab but released them. The crew was in a hurry because other boats were waiting to offload, so they were mostly concerned with pitching crab.
Based on the price per pound of Tanner crab and the amount of illegal crab on the vessel, Hall estimates the vessel contained $8,098 worth of illegal crab.
The court fined the Silver Bay Seafoods $16,000 with $8,000 suspended. The court also ordered the seafood processor to pay restitution to the state of Alaska departments of Public Safety, and Fish & Game. The amount of the restitution is $8,098 based on the estimated value of the illegal crab on board.