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Coast Guard, NOAA seize illegally caught fish near Homer

halibut seizure.jpg
Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard
Two crewmembers from Coast Guard Cutter Naushon and a member from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE) pose for a picture with allegedly illegally-retained halibut in Homer on Nov. 30, 2022.

The U.S. Coast Guard seized 117 pounds of illegally caught fish near Homer on Wednesday.

The law enforcement team from the USCG Cutter Naushon discovered the halibut aboard an unidentified commercial Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) halibut boat, according to a press release from the Coast Guard. The halibut, which was not documented in the vessel’s logbook, was also fileted so the size and number of fish couldn’t be determined.

The Coast Guard team seized the fish and escorted the boat to the Homer dock, where federal authorities with NOAA took possession of the catch.

The release said NOAA estimated the halibut is worth $3,510 and issued a $2,400 fine to the vessel's captain.

Seizures are relatively uncommon, according to Lt. Cmdr. Scott McCann. He said they've only had two halibut seizures this year.

Generally, if the fish is fit for human consumption, it will eventually get donated, McCann added. If it’s not fit for human consumption, then it will get donated to a zoo or aquarium — and if it’s not good for either, then it will get disposed of as waste.

In 2019, Hope moved to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor to work for Alaska's Energy Desk and KUCB — the westernmost public radio newsroom in the country. She has lived, worked and filed stories from California, New York, Bolivia, Peru, Cuba and Alaska.