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Yup'ik Fishermen Appeal Fishing Convictions

By By The Associated Press
Published On: Jun 22 2013 01:02:07 PM AKDT
Updated On: Jun 22 2013 12:02:51 PM AKDT
Yup'ik Fishermen Appeal Fishing Convictions
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

Nearly half of the subsistence fishermen who were found guilty of illegal fishing on the Kuskokwim River are appealing their convictions.

Their attorney, James J. Davis Jr., filed a notice a notice of appeal.

Assistant Attorney General Laura Fox says 11 fishermen are appealing the convictions handed up in Bethel in May. The appeals were filed earlier this month.

The Yup'ik fishermen were cited last year during a poor king salmon run.

During their trials before a judge, about two dozen fishermen argued they have a spiritual right to fish for king salmon when restrictions are in place.

Bruce Ward, an acting District Court judge, 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.