Troopers started investigating in December 2013 when a mandatory hold inspection was put on the ship, Valkyrie. The ship deployed commercial crab pots in the Pacific Ocean and did not conduct a landing within 14 days, as required by law.
Troopers contacted the owner Aron Steinbach, 34, of Bay City, and operator Thomas White, 30, of Nehalem, about the violations. Steinbach was cited for leaving gear set more than 14 days without a landing and White was cited for no commercial fishing license.
OSP says many of the vessel’s crab pots had not been worked for long period of time, causing concern that the gear could be killing, wasting and harming crab.
OSP Fish & Wildlife troopers and the U.S. Coast Guard began seizing Valkyrie’s commercial crab gear from the ocean near Cape Falcon.
Many of the more than 150 seized crab pots had evidence of multiple violations. Several contained rotten crabs or crab parts. The crab gear also had different markings, indicating some of the gear may have been stolen.
Steinbach was then cited for Class A misdemeanor charges including: waste of commercial food fish, commercial Dungeness crabbing with inadequate release mechanism, leaving gear set more than 14 days without landing, no buoy tags and no pot tags.
No charges have been filed against the captains.
OSP Fish & Wildlife Division will hold a public viewing of the crab pots on June 9 from 1-3 p.m. at the OSP Tillamook Office, 5995 Long Prairie Rd. It hops someone can identify the stolen gear so it can be returned to its owners.