- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - One of four large vessels used by Alaska State Wildlife Troopers for commercial fishing enforcement will be sold for budget reasons.

The state is seeking a buyer for the Kodiak-based Woldstad, a 121-foot vessel built in 1982 for law enforcement use, the Kodiak Daily Mirror (https://bit.ly/1TZ4PCs) reported.

The Woldstad carries a civilian operating crew of four. Eliminating those positions will save more than $500,000 annually but will mean less enforcement, said wildlife trooper division director Steve Bear.

“Us not being on the water, there will be more violations that go undetected,” Bear said. “There’s no doubt about that.”

The state hopes to sell the vessel by July 1. The vessel is so specialized, “It’s going to take the right buyer,” Bear said.

“It needed a lot of work, so knowing that we had to face these cuts, looking at the fleet, it made the most sense to decommission the Woldstad because of its age and current condition,” Bear said. “We were going to have to put a lot of money into it to bring it up to where it was able to effectively be used for what we use it for.”

The boat is equipped to pull pots and other fishing gear. However, it has no fish holds that might attract a commercial fisherman as a buyer.

Wildlife troopers will be down to three large vessels: the Kodiak-based Stimson and Camai and the Ketchikan-based Enforcer.

The Woldstad annually spent at least 100 days patrolling waters of the Bering Sea, Bristol Bay, the Aleutian Islands and Kodiak. The Bristol Bay fishery likely will see less enforcement, Bear said.

“We usually have the Woldstad and the Stimson both in Bristol Bay,” Bear said. “I can’t really make up the Woldstad patrols with the Stimson.”


Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, https://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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