Former fisheries board official cited

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A former Alaska Board of Fisheries chairman has been cited for violating fishing regulations in southeast Alaska.

Alaska State Troopers on Saturday cited Dan Coffey, an Anchorage attorney and former assembly member, for the alleged violations on fishing gear in Peril Strait, north of Sitka.

Troopers found Coffey’s crab traps were baited with sport-caught king salmon. State regulations require only salmon scraps be used as bait, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“Coffey was using other than the head, tail, fins, closely trimmed skeleton, or viscera,” the troopers’ account of the violations say.

Coffey disputes the charge, saying he baited his Dungeness crab traps with scraps from king salmon fillets he caught.

But he claims the trooper said one of the tails in the trap hadn’t been trimmed closed enough.

“That’s a little subjective, but I could see his point as well,” Coffey said. “If I made a mistake, it was not salvaging enough of the meat. I’m going to tell the judge what I did, and I’m going to let him decide.”

He also was cited for having two shellfish pots that were missing a required escape mechanism, which allow undersized crab to escape if it is lost or forgotten. Coffey said he forgot to put in the escape ring, and paid that $110 fine.

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