WESTPORT - The Coast Guard and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife cooperated in the seizure of a 54-foot fishing vessel Thursday afternoon, after an investigation revealed the vessel had 250 crab pots more than the owner's license allowed.
After boarding the vessel off the Washington coast, officers confirmed the fishing vessel Star Shadow, based in Ketchikan, Alaska, was exceeding its 300-pot limit.
WDFW enforcement vessel Corliss, a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Coast Guard Station Grays Harbor, Wash., and an HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Group Air Station Astoria were launched to locate the vessel.
The Jayhawk located the Star Shadow about three miles southwest of Destruction Island, Wash., and relayed the position to Coast Guard and WDFW vessels.
Department of Fish and Wildlife agents from the Corliss boarded the Star Shadow to count the crab pots, while a Coast Guard boarding team conducted a safety inspection.
The master of the vessel admitted fishing with approximately 550 crab pots during an interview with WDFW enforcement officers, WDFW said.
The officers seized and escorted the vessel to the Westport Marina where the crabs on board were confiscated. The catch was an estimated 9,700 pounds of Dungeness crab.
The vessel was then escorted and moored at Station Grays Harbor pending further investigation.
Capt. Mike Cenci, a WDFW enforcement officer, said the department plans to file charges in the case in Grays Harbor District Court in Montesano. He noted that exceeding a commercial crab-pot limit is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by fines of up to $5,000 per day.