Fishing guides at a Petersburg lodge charged with over 50 violations

Pacific Halibut caught in Cook Inlet in June 2010. (Creative Commons photo by Jlikes2Fish)

Four fishing guides at a Petersburg lodge are being charged by the State of Alaska with over 50 violations. The four men were working for Rocky Point Resort in 2019 and 2020.

All of the charges are misdemeanors involving illegal fishing for halibut. Halibut is strictly regulated with a limited quota for commercial and sports fishermen, and the harvests must be documented.

State and federal officers were involved in the investigations, including undercover officers posing as fishing clients. The officers say they saw 62-year-old Gregory Wasik and 59-year-old Kristopher Thomas break several laws — taking too many customers, too many halibut, using too many fishing lines, throwing out small halibut to keep larger ones, and throwing out halibut that had been gaffed or hooked for bringing the fish onboard. The state also says the guides did not accurately document the halibut their clients caught.

Wasik is being charged with 17 counts for violations in June of 2019.Thomas faces 25 counts for violations in June and August of 2020.

The state is charging 43-year-old Charles King, known as “Nik,” with 10 counts for underreporting halibut caught by his clients in the summer of 2020. John Robert Snyder is being charged with two similar counts for violations in August of 2020. Snyder’s age was not listed in the court documents.

Some of the halibut involved were what’s known as guided angler fish. That’s a halibut quota sold by commercial fishermen to guided sports fishermen through a federal catch-sharing program.

Even though federal investigators were involved, there are no federal charges at this time. NOAA fisheries spokesperson Dominic Andrews said in an email that they are currently investigating and cannot comment.

Rocky Point Resort has been owned by a Petersburg family since 1984 and offers guided and unguided fishing. The person who answered the phone at the resort Monday said she didn’t know about the charges and said no one else was there to comment.

The arraignment for all four guides is set for May 31 at 10 a.m. at the Petersburg Courthouse.

The state’s prosecuting attorney is Ronald Dupuis with the Office of Special Prosecutions in Anchorage. He was unavailable for comment.

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