While anchored in Cannery Cove, we spot a 100 foot boat heading towards the anchorage. We have seen this boat before. It’s The Enforcer, the Alaska State Trooper Boat.
They deploy their small skiff and three agents are soon motoring through the harbor. We are the only boat here so are sure they will come check us. Alaska takes their fishing industry very seriously. We have been checked every year that we have been cruising here. That’s ok, we have our fishing license, the only fish aboard is the one halibut. He is legal. We have only one live crab in our bait well. He is legal. We should be good, right?
We watch through the binoculars as the officers pull our first crab trap up to the surface. After taking a photo of our float, we see some discussion and pointing between the officers. We are starting to get a little worried. Our traps are legal aren’t they? We modified our traps to Alaska rules two years ago. Even though we bought the traps in Ketchikan, the escape ring size was made for Washington State regulations, not those of Alaska. We also had to modify the escape twine to 30 thread count instead of the 60 count that came on the trap. Why they sell traps in Alaska that are not legal is still a mystery to me. A trooper in Hoonah had educated us on this two years ago and Jeff had modified the traps so they were legal.
We breath a sigh of relief as the troopers put our trap back in the water. They then motor over to our second trap and begin hauling it. This time instead of lowering it back down they bring it aboard their boat and start motoring over towards us. Oh no! What did we do wrong?
Jeff greets the three officers and ask “What did we overlook?”. It turns out that when we tied our 30 count escape twine to the trap door, we doubled the knot instead of just a single tie.
The officers also pointed out they we did not have our home address on the second float. We had only our name, the boat name, and phone number. Our bad! The officers were very nice and could see that we were making a good faith attempt to comply with Alaska rules. No citation was issued and they even offered to set our trap back out for us. Since there were three keeper crabs in the trap, we took the trap from them and said we would take care of putting it back out after correcting our two violations. The Alaska Troopers were very courteous and also gave us several tips on some other fishing regulations. We learned something new today. All in all it was a winning day with five crabs in the pots.