By KYLE HOPKINS
Want to know more about accusations that a state
Fish and Game inspector accepted $100 from “Deadliest Catch” star and Northwestern captain Sig Hansen after looking over his boat?
Here’s the criminal complaint filed Friday in state court against fish and wildlife technician Melanie Bakker, 26.
She’s accused of accepting “unlawful gratuity," a misdemeanor under state law.
The charges say Hansen offered to buy Bakker dinner after she performed a one-hour, on-the-clock gear inspection of the Northwestern on Saturday, Jan. 15.
Bakker refused the meal, the charges say:
Hansen then gave her $100 which she initially refused. Hansen became insistent that she take the money to buy her and a friend dinner. Bakker finally relented and took the $100.
Police say Bakker visited the shop of artist Carolyn Reed later that day and told Reed she’d received $100 for doing the inspection.
“Bakker said she was conflicted on what to do with the money,” the charges say. “Bakker took out a $100 bill and purchased $35 worth of gifts from Reed’s shop.”
Reed, contacted by phone today, refused to comment.
I did speak briefly with area management biologist Heather Fitch, who supervises some of the state technicians.
While Fitch said she couldn’t comment on the case, she said the inspections are a mandatory step for each vessel, each year, before they can go commercial fishing.
“It’s like getting the tabs for your truck,” she said.
“For all vessels that fish crab out here, we go down to the boat, we do a courtesy gear inspection to see if it’s in compliance for the fishery,” Fitch said.
She said she can’t remember a boat failing to pass the routine inspections, which end with Fish and Game filling out a form that registers the vessel for fishing.
The criminal complaint doesn’t specifically say whether Hansen’s boat passed inspection, though Fitch said “they are currently registered for the fishery.”
Here’s more from Unalaska public radio station KUCB which first reported the story earlier this week.
Bakker has a court appearance scheduled Feb. 18 in Unalaska, according to court records.
Not a fan of the show? Meet Hansen as he answers fans' questions about the crab fishing on the Bering Sea:
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