On May 20th an Alaska District Court judge in Bethel ruled that the data collected and provided by fisheries scientists spoke for itself and the salmon when he charged the 21 Kuskokwim fishermen who fished last summer in the name of civil disobedience during a closed period.
The judge said that his decision was “supported by the (salmon) run data, weir data and extensive fisheries expert witnesses. Therefore, this court finds the need to police the Chinook run, to ensure its continuity for future generations of Yupik fishermen and families, overcomes the argued for free-exercise exemption which otherwise would apply.”
However, in his ruling, the judged said, “This court understands there will be an appeal, and frankly I think there should be.”
Well maybe the data didn’t speak resoundingly enough for the salmon; so stay tuned.
Check out the following KYUK and Alaska Dispatch articles: