Yup'ik Fishermen Found Guilty of Illegal Fishing

Two dozen fishermen on trial this week for illegal fishing have been found guilty by a judge in Bethel.

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by Associated Press

BETHEL-  Two dozen fishermen on trial this week for illegal fishing have been found guilty by a judge in Bethel.
   
The fishermen's attorney, James J. Davis Jr., says he will appeal the convictions issued Monday through Wednesday by Magistrate Bruce Ward. Davis says one of the 25 fishermen is in Hawaii and his case will be heard later.
   
The fishermen were cited last year during a poor king salmon run. They argued they have a spiritual right to fish for king salmon when restrictions are in place.
   
Ward found the state's need to restrict kings supersedes the fishermen's religious rights.
   
Ward imposed $250 fines for all but one fisherman, who was fined $500.
   
The trials began in April with specialists on Yup'ik culture testifying for the fishermen.