More details have
emerged on a Kodiak skipper convicted last week of poaching Pacific Cod along
the Aleutian Chain. Seventy-three-year-old Thomas
Millman, owner of the fishing vessel Four Daughters, pleaded guilty last Friday
to four counts of illegally taking fish in closed waters. He was fined $117,000
and sentenced to four years probation. Millman now resides in the state of Minnesota.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan
Schoder says the case shows the federal government's commitment to enforce
fishing laws in Alaska.
The sentence was handed down by
U.S. District Judge John Sedwick in Anchorage
and the culmination of a multi-year investigation. The lead investigator was Special
Agent Mike Killary of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Kodiak-based
enforcement division. He said Millman was discovered fishing in closed waters
after he accidentally logged himself fishing with his onboard electronic vessel
Killary says that despite being
warned by NOAA officials Millman continued to take the Four Daughters into
closed waters where he caught Pacific Cod and sold to a Akutan-based fish
processor. In 2005 alone, he delivered a quarter million pounds of cod, valued
at about $73,000.
Alaska State Troopers subsequently
caught the Four Daughters fishing in closed waters and alerted federal
The area where Millman was fishing
is closed to conserve a major food source for the protected Steller Sea Lion
Millman was prosecuted under the Lacey
Act which allows federal prosecutors to charge suspected poachers in state
waters. In a prepared statement, U.S.
Attorney Karen Loeffler called the Lacey Act "an essential tool for
protecting one of our nation's most valuable resources."
Millman's attorney, John Murtagh of
declined to comment.