Alaska Native fishermen seek consolidated trial

Alaska Native fishermen charged with illegal fishing during a poor salmon run are seeking to consolidate their trials.

Attorney James J. Davis Jr. says he wants to continue to a later date the trials for 11 of the fishermen set to start next week. Another 10 fishermen are scheduled for January trials.

Davis says consolidating the 21 cases would allow a specialist on Yup’ik Eskimo culture to act as a pro bono expert for all the fishermen.

Last month, three other fishermen tried separately in Bethel were found guilty of violating strict fishing restrictions last summer. The men were each fined $250.

In their trials, Davis argued that no one notified the fishermen about restrictions.

But Magistrate Bruce Ward said they were negligent for not finding out about the restrictions.

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