SITKA, ALASKA Judge George, acting as magistrate in the District Court of Angoon, dismissed overfishing violations against Kookesh, Rocky Estrada, and Stanley Johnson in September. A fourth man with the group, Scott Hunter, still faces charges of fishing without a valid subsistence permit.
Prior to dismissal of the citations Sen. Kookesh was preparing a defense based on the still-unsettled conflict between state and federal laws governing subsistence in Alaska. Judge George instead ruled that the state violated the Administrative Procedures Act, and failed to give proper notice that bag limits for sockeye had been changed in the bay near Angoon where the men were fishing in July of 2009.
The ruling could have major ramifications for the way the Alaska Department of Fish & Game manages subsistence fishing bag limits, which have typically been published at the same time permits are issued. The state is now expected to appeal the dismissal.
Sen. Albert Kookesh is a Democrat representing Senate District C, which runs from Metlakatla to Cordova. He is also chairman of the board of Sealaska Corporation, and co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives.
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