First fisherman found guilty in Bethel trial

BETHEL -- The first of two dozen western Alaska Natives accused of subsistence fishing for king salmon in violation of restrictions set by the state because of poor runs has been found guilty.

KYUK reports 48-year-old Harry David of Tuntutuliak was convicted Tuesday morning in Bethel Superior Court. He was fined $250 for using illegal gear.

David's attorney said no one notified David about restrictions and he didn't know what the rules were.

But Magistrate Bruce Ward said David was negligent for not finding out about the restrictions.

In all, 60 fishermen originally faced misdemeanor charges for fishing closed sections of the Kuskokwim River during the summer king run.

Most charges were later reduced, and a little more than half pleaded guilty.