Two men accused of illegal crabbing operation on Oregon coast - KPTV - FOX 12

Two men accused of illegal crabbing operation on Oregon coast

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Photo: OSP Photo: OSP
Photo: OSP Photo: OSP
Photo: OSP Photo: OSP

Two men are accused of running an illegal crabbing operation on the Oregon coast.

In February, Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife troopers contacted Aron Steinbach, 34, of Bay City, and Thomas White, 30, of Nehalem, about a number of suspected violations.

Steinbach owns and supervises a Garibaldi-based boat called the Valkyrie. White was his first captain, while another Garibaldi man had been the most recent captain of the boat.

In February, Steinbach was cited for leaving gear set more than 14 days without a landing, while White was cited for not having a commercial fishing license.

Inspectors said it became apparent that many of the boat's crab pots had not been checked for long periods of time, meaning crabs were possibly being wasted.

On May 6, troopers aboard the OSP patrol vessel Guardian assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in seizing Valkyrie's commercial crab gear from the ocean near Cape Falcon.

Troopers said many of the more than 150 seized crab pots had evidence of multiple violations, including rotten crab and crab parts, indicating crabs were being caught by the unchecked gear, dying and going to waste inside the traps.

Last week, Steinbach, who was already in the Tillamook County Jail in an unrelated case, was cited by OSP on additional charges of waste of commercial food fish, commercial Dungeness crabbing with inadequate release mechanism, no buoy tags and no pot tags.

Troopers believe some of the gear recovered from Valkyrie may have been stolen. Troopers are scheduling a public viewing of the items from 1 to 3 p.m. on June 9 in hopes of returning them to the rightful owners. It will be at the OSP Tillamook Office, 5995 Long Prairie Rd.

Questions regarding the investigation and scheduled crab gear viewing may be directed to Sgt. Todd Hoodenpyl at 503-815-3373.

The most recent captain of the Valkyrie is not facing charges at this time.

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