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Homer man faces up to $4,500 fine for illegal fishing in Unalaska waters

The F/V Foreigner (left) was spotted illegally fishing in Unalaska’s Reese Bay on July 18.
The F/V Foreigner (left) was spotted illegally fishing in Unalaska’s Reese Bay on July 18.

Wildlife troopers charged a Homer man this week with four counts of illegal fishing in Unalaska waters.

Bernardo Cheremnov is facing up to $4,500 in fines.

Jeremy Baum is the Alaska Wildlife Trooper based in Unalaska. He said Cheremnov was using commercial fishing gear in an exclusively subsistence fishing area.

Cheremnov was seen catching salmon with a commercial drift gillnet aboard the 32-foot fishing boat Foreigner in mid-July in Unalaska’s Reese Bay, also known as Wislow — a popular subsistence area where locals harvest mostly red salmon.

“Our Department of Fish and Game and NOAA boarded the boat the next day,” Baum said. “There were 87 fish seized off that vessel.”

Only residents can participate in subsistence fisheries, and they have to have permits to fish.

Reese Bay is about 18 miles by boat from Unalaska. It’s best known for its mid-summer sockeye — or red — salmon run. Locals can get 25 fish per family member on a single subsistence permit.

Baum said Cheremnov was cited for not having a subsistence permit to participate in that fishery, for unlawful possession of subsistence fish, for operating a subsistence fishing net that was longer than the legal maximum length of 50 fathoms, and for failing to report commercially caught fish on his fish ticket.

“At the time of the boarding and according to Mr. Cheremnov, some of the fish that were on board were from his subsistence catch in Reese Bay,” Baum said. “There were also additional fish he claimed on board his vessel that were commercially caught. Those fish were not recorded on a fish ticket, as he's required to do.”

Cheremnov has a court date scheduled at the Unalaska Courthouse for late September. He faces up to a $4,500 fine and forfeiture of the 87 fish that were seized.

Hope McKenney is a public radio news director, reporter, producer and host based in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
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