PETERSBURG-Arne Fuglvog, a long-time, fifth generation fisherman from Peterburg, and Fisheries Aide to Senator Murkowski, resigned from her team and agreed to a plea deal for serious fishing violations that occurred between 2001 and 2006 according to reports.
Fuglvog is also a long time participant of the politics of fishing. Before joining Murkowski’s staff in 2006, Fuglvog was appointed to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2003 by her father Frank Murkowski.
While on Lisa’s staff, Fuglvog earned approximately $90,000 a year according to Senate salary records. He was also in contention for the head of the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2009, but withdrew from consideration in July of that year, stating that the selection process was taking too long.
Fuglvog was charged with violations of the Lacy Act by falsifying catch records and selling illegal fish from 2001 to 2006. In the plea agreement an example of his criminal activity was given. The example was taken from the 2005 year, that year Fuglvog’s permit for Western Yakutat allowed him to catch 30,000 pounds of Sablefish, better known as Black Cod, in that region. Instead, he harvested over 63,000 pounds in that area aboard his vessel the Kamilar and put the overcatch on a different permit for the Central Gulf region. The over-catch resulted in an extra $100,000 for Fuglvog and his crew. The plea agreement stated that Fuglvog has falsified fish records several times from 2001 to 2006.
If his plea agreement is accepted, Fuglvog will have to pay out $150,000 and serve 10 months in prison. $100,000 of the $150,000 will be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. He must also post to the National Fisherman Magazine and admit to his wrong-doing. In return, authorities promise not to procecute for further wrong-doings that they now know of. The plea deal was signed and dated April 8th.
Senator Murkowski said in a written statement, “Arne served Alaskans for the past 5 years on my staff and for over a decade before that in his public service work in fisheries, I thank him for his years of service, but he knows the importance and value of our fisheries, and he also knows what all fishermen understand: fishing laws and regulations must be followed.” When asked what they knew and when, the Murkowski camp had no comment.