Kaktovic Whaling Captain Sentenced to Federal Prison for Violation of Marine Mammal Act


U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder revealed on Friday that Kaktovic Whaling Captain 36-year-old Christopher L. Gordon was sentenced in U.S District Court by Judge Ralph Beistline to serve three months in Federal Prison followed by one year of supervised release and must pay a $4,500 fine for violating the Marine Mammals Act in December of 2018.

Gordon, who as an Alaskan Native is permitted to hunt or kill polar bears and other marine mammals for subsistence purposes and other purposes such as handicrafts or clothing, cannot do so in a wasteful manner. But, on December 20th, 2018, Gordon shot and killed a polar bear that was attracted to the whale meat stored in his front yard. Although there a bear-resistant food lockers in the community for storage of whale meat, Gordon elected not to use them.

After shooting the bear, Gordon chose not to salvage any of the bear and left it where it lay and soon snow covered the carcass. Three weeks later, a plow vehicle moved the carcass, uncovering it and ripping one of its legs off. Still, Gordon did not salvage any of the bear and it lay there for five months. “On May 22, 2019, Gordon had the polar bear carcass discarded and
burned in the Kaktovik dump without ever using or salvaging any of its parts,” it was revealed in court.

Judge Beistline said in court that while Gordon, as an Alaskan Native had the legal right to harvest the polar bear, he never properly salvaged the bear despite having many opportunities to do so. During his one year of supervised release, Gordon is not allowed to hunt or harvest any marine mammals with the exception of Bowhead Whales.

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