A new report on the Alaska Public Radio Network says former crew members aboard the commercial fishing vessel operated by Arne Fuglvog had tried for years to turn Fuglvog in for illegal fishing but felt they were ignored. Meanwhile Fuglvog gained a good reputation in the nation’s capital as fisheries aide to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and was among the top nominees to head the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Murkowski has said she was unaware of such accusations and that she never would have hired anyone on her staff that was the subject of an investigation.
The report by APRN’s Libby Casey notes that Fuglvog eventually pulled his name out of consideration for the NMFS post, saying the process was taking too long, but he was in fact under investigation for the agency he would have run. He recently pleaded guilty to breaking commercial fishing laws before joining Murkowski’s staff. APRN aired an interview on Sept. 26 that said crew members tried as early as 2007 to alert authorities to Fuglvog’s illegal practices of fishing in the Central Gulf of Alaska rather than west of Kodiak, which would have cost them a lot more time and expenses. The story included comments from a former crewmember that said the practices to which Fuglvog had pleaded guilty had gone on for years. The former crewmember said he never felt that what they were doing was right, but if he had blown the whistle he would have been out of a job.
Fuglvog agreed to cooperate with authorities in the case. He faces 10 months behind bars.
Murkowski meanwhile is expected to name her new fisheries aide shortly. Top contenders include Stefanie Moreland, the state’s federal fisheries coordinator.