Michael Patrick Duby, a repeat wildlife offender in Southeast, pleaded guilty in Juneau District Court on Tuesday to two non-criminal fishing violations.
According to the plea deal discussed in court Tuesday, Duby will pay a $2,000 fine for providing false information on a fish ticket and $1,000 for retaining yellowtail rockfish for personal consumption. A misdemeanor charge for providing false information on a fish ticket was dismissed, according to the plea deal.
Duby, 44, has a history of wildlife violations dating back more than a decade, Assistant Attorney General Aaron Peterson said over the phone in court.
“He has a relatively long list of fish and game offenses,” Peterson said.
Peterson was prosecuting the case for the Alaska Department of Law’s Office of Special Prosecutions. The case at hand Tuesday dates back to offenses in February, according to electronic court records.
On March 29, Duby was charged with providing false information on a fish ticket, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch. The charges stemmed from a Juneau-based Alaska Wildlife Troopers investigation in which troopers found while he was fishing for Pacific cod and Demersal Shelf rockfish, he caught and kept more yellowtail rockfish bycatch than he was allowed to keep. To conceal this, Troopers found, Duby falsified fish tickets and his logbooks to make it look like the fish had been caught and retained in other fisheries, according to the dispatch.
Michael Stanley, Duby’s defense attorney, said in court Tuesday that he didn’t believe the dates on the fish tickets were changed intentionally. He pointed out that Duby immediately admitted to Troopers that he had made a mistake on the fish tickets. Stanley said the violations were just that — mistakes.
“I would argue that it’s a clerical error,” Stanley said. “He freely acknowledged that, yes, those dates were not right.”
At other times, according to the Troopers dispatch, Duby didn’t report the fish as having been taken on his fish ticket. In addition to the misdemeanor, Troopers cited Duby for falsifying a groundfish logbook, failing to report his bycatch and failing to report fish retained for personal use, according to the dispatch. Duby pleaded guilty to the first two of those, and Juneau District Court Judge Kirsten Swanson accepted his plea.
At the end of June, according to electronic court records, Duby was charged with unlawful retention of undersized king salmon in Sitka. Peterson said in court Tuesday that the plea agreement detailed in Tuesday’s hearing also was part of a resolution with the Sitka case. Duby is set to take a plea deal in that case in a hearing today in Sitka, Peterson said via email.
In court, Peterson spoke about the importance of keeping accurate information when it comes to fish and game reports.
“The biologists use all this information for management of the species,” Peterson said. “It’s important that people report accurately everything that’s taken. That’s what we’re trying to do with the sentence, as with most fishing sentences, is trying to get some compliance to regulations so it’s a matter of general deterrence.”
In 2012, Duby was sentenced to 280 days in prison for seven counts of hunting and fishing violations, which was was of the harsher penalties in the history of the state of Alaska for breaking wildlife laws, according to an Empire report from the time. At the time, Duby was the owner and operator of FishHunter Charters in Juneau. Nine other people in the two years leading up to that, according to the Empire at the time, had been charged or convicted with poaching activities in connection to Duby, including his father and brother.
The charges at that time were the culmination of a two-year, multi-agency investigation into Duby’s activities in Alaska, Montana and Washington. In September 2011, Duby pleaded guilty to violating the Migratory Bird Act by selling magpie skin and feathers on eBay. He was sentenced to five years of probation and a $2,500 fine, according to electronic court records, and his hunting and fishing licenses were revoked for five years.
Swanson ruled that Duby’s newest fines must be paid by the close of business on Friday, Nov. 9. Duby was present in court, and did not speak beyond pleading guilty and thanking Swanson for accepting his plea.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.