By The Associated Press
Channel 2 News
1:19 PM AKDT, October 28, 2012
Trials begin Monday for about two dozen Alaska Native subsistence fishermen charged with illegally fishing for king salmon in waters severly restricted by the state because of dismal runs of the prized fish.
The trials starting Monday reflect a clash between ancient practices and modern government restrictions.
Supporters say Alaska Natives should have more say in managing their fishing grounds.
Government officials say Native input is important, but ensuring sustainability for future runs is always the overriding priority.
Altogether 60 fishermen originally faced misdemeanor charges of fishing in closed waters and/or using restricted gear.
Prosecutors say charges for all but a few were reduced to minor violations. A little more than half of the fishermen pleaded guilty to the reduced charges and were ordered to pay $250 fines.
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