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Commercial Crab Pot Conviction Nets Hammond Man 30 Days in Jail and over $41,000 Fine
03/06/2009
Lieutenant Jeff Samuels
OSP Fish & Wildlife Division
Northwest Region
Office: (503) 934-0324

Photographs taken during investigation on STURGELL's boat, the F/V Genesis A. Links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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A Hammond, Oregon man recently found guilty following an investigation associated with a 2007 commercial crab enforcement operation off the Oregon coast began serving his sentence earlier this week in Tillamook County.
 
On March 1, 2009, DENNIS STURGELL, age 56, from Hammond, was lodged in Tillamook County Jail to begin serving a 30 days sentence after he pled guilty February 6th to two counts of Unlawful Use Commercial Crab Pots in Tillamook County Circuit Court. Tillamook County Circuit Court Judge Rick Roll handed down a sentence of 30 days in the Tillamook County Jail, and $41,200.00 in restitution to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commercial Fish Fund.
 
The conviction was the result of a 2007 case when the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division conducted a joint commercial crab enforcement operation off of the Oregon Coast. This was the first year when the State of Oregon introduced a limit on the number of commercial crab pots that any one vessel could fish.
 
During the operation, STURGELL was found fishing unlawful commercial crab pots which led to his arrest. The commercial Dungeness crab fishery is one of the largest commercial fisheries on the Oregon Coast. The new crab pot limit was recommended by the industry to limit the amount of crab pots fishing in the ocean at any one time. Prior to the crab pot limit vessels could fish unlimited amounts of commercial crab gear during the commercial Dungeness crab season.
 
Currently, commercial Dungeness crab permits are broken down into three types of permits: a two hundred crab pot permit, a 300 crab pot permit, and a 500 crab pot permit. Vessels are restricted from fishing more commercial crab pots at one time than allowed by their permit.
 
The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division thanks the Tillamook County District Attorney's Office, enforcement officers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and United States Coast Guard for their assistance with this case.