Murkowski fisheries adviser heading to prison — for illegal fishing

Steven Nelson | Associate Editor

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s longtime fisheries adviser is heading to prison — for illegal fishing.

Arne Fuglvog, who was employed as a legislative assistant to Murkowski beginning in 2006, signed a plea agreement on April 8 confessing to violations of the Lacey Act. The act governs the sale of unlawfully captured wildlife.

In 2005, Fuglvog harvested twice the amount of sablefish that his commercial fishing permit allowed for in the “Central Gulf” region of the Gulf of Alaska, then falsified reports to cover up the loot — valued at approximately $100,000.

If the plea agreement is accepted by a judge, Fuglvog will spend 10 months in jail and be fined $50,000, mandated to author a confession in the National Fisherman Magazine and forced to give $100,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Although the plea agreement was signed four months ago, Fuglvog was not officially charged until Monday. On Sunday he resigned from Murkowski’s staff.

In a statement to the Alaska Dispatch, Murkowski said, “He knows the importance and value of our fisheries, and he also knows what all fishermen understand: fishing laws and regulations must be followed.” She said that he understood the consequences of his actions.

It is unclear when Murkowski learned of the investigation into Fuglvog’s fishing violations. A spokesman for the senator told the Anchorage Daily News, “This is an ongoing legal issue, so we cannot comment further at this time.”

Fugalov was reportedly the frontrunner for an appointment to lead the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2009, but withdrew his name from consideration.

Murkowski has served in the Senate since 2002, when her father appointed her to fill his term after he was elected governor. She won re-election in 2010 as a write-in candidate after losing the Republican primary.

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