State Biologist Pleads No Contest In Sturgeon Caviar Case

OSHKOHS, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s top sturgeon biologist has pleaded no contest in Winnebago County to obstructing a warden.

Ryan Koenigs, 36, was charged following an investigation into illegally processing sturgeon eggs into caviar.

"Quite often, people make dumb choices. They have to live with the ramifications of those choices,” Winnebago County Court Judge Scott Woldt said to Koenigs during sentencing Friday. “You made made a doozy here!”

Woldt ordered Koenigs to pay a $50 fine, WLUK-TV reported.

Koenigs apologized for his actions.

“I apologize to my family for the stress and anxiety that I’ve caused, during the last year and a half,” Koenigs said.

The Department of Natural Resources said Koenigs is on leave is pending the conclusion of an internal investigation.

An investigation revealed that DNR employees, including Koenings, would allegedly collect eggs from spearers, telling them they were for research purposes.

According to a criminal complaint, Koenigs allegedly allowed a co-worker to take the eggs and have them processed, then shared some of the caviar with DNR employees. Koenigs is accused of accepting about $20,000 worth of caviar, by way of bartering, which is illegal.