Alleged crab pot poacher off South Whidbey charged

A Poulsbo man is facing charges for allegedly stealing crab pots and violating Fish and Wildlife rules while crabbing off of South Whidbey late last year.

Prosecutors charged Duran M. George, 19, in Island County Superior Court Oct. 28 with second-degree theft, violation of commercial fishing area or time and unlawful interference with fishing gear in the first degree.

Officers with state Fish and Wildlife were patrolling a geoduck area on Dec. 17, 2014, when they were alerted to a possible crab harvesting violation by other officers conducting a flyover in a small plane. A boat off of Possession Point appeared to be harvesting after sunset, which is against the law.

After locating the boat, the officers pulled their patrol boat alongside the suspected vessel. George, a member of the Suquamish tribe, and a woman were on board.

George initially denied that he had been crabbing, but later admitted that he had about 200 pounds of Dungeness in the live well, the officer’s report states.

The officers also found that George had eight commercial crab pots on the back of his boat; none of them had buoys attached. He admitted they belonged to someone else and that he had cut the buoys off after removing them from the water, the report states.

The officer also found that George had two female crab, which can’t be harvested, 16 undersized ones and five in a “soft-shell condition” which are not legal to possess.

The officers sold the crab to a seafood company in Everett for $617.

The officers also located the owner of the stolen crab pots. The man said they were worth about $1,300.