Kookesh, others to challenge overfishing charges

Fishermen plan to file an extension for appeal

Former lawmaker Albert Kookesh says he and two other men charged with overfishing intend to again appeal the charges. The Alaska Court of Appeals on Dec. 27 reinstated the charges against Kookesh, Rocky Estrada and Stanley Johnson after the men had succeeded in having the charges dismissed by a Sitka district court judge in 2010. A fourth man cited, Scott Hunter, did not appeal the citation. The citations carry a $500 fine.

After the charges were reinstated, the men had 10 days to appeal. Kookesh said it wasn’t enough time, especially without access to the attorney who represented the men since the beginning. The group’s former attorney, Tony Strong, was disbarred last June for misconduct in an unrelated case.

“With ten days, (this is) all we can do right now and of course we have to find a new attorney,” Kookesh said.

The men were cited July 12, 2009, off the beach in Kanalku Bay near Angoon. A state wildlife trooper reported that the men had collected 148 sockeye salmon but only had permits for a total of 75 fish. The men maintain that they did nothing wrong. Kookesh wants to see the case have an effect on how subsistence is managed in Alaska.

Kookesh recently announced publicly that he will be stepping down as Sealaska’s board chair in June, citing health reasons. In October, he didn’t seek to be re-elected as co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Kookesh served as a state representative from 1997 until 2005, and then as a state senator until 2013. Kookesh suffered a heart attack in March of last year and he says as a result he’s been taking on fewer commitments.

Kookesh said there were no plans yet on how to fund the case, either with help from Sealaska or the Alaska Federation of Natives.

“We’ve come this far...” Kookesh said. “Why wouldn’t we challenge them?”

• Contact reporter Jennifer Canfield at 523-2279 or at jennifer.n.canfield@juneauempire.com. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/canfieldjenn.

Kookesh to step down as Sealaska board chair
Overfishing charges reinstated against Kookesh, others
New redistricting plan could see opposition from Southeast


Wed, 02/22/2017 - 12:42

Company plans more flights over leaking Cook Inlet pipeline

ANCHORAGE — A leaking underwater pipeline continues to spew natural gas into Cook Inlet.

Read more
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 12:41

Lawsuit challenges Alaska civil seizures, search warrants

PETERSBURG — A lawsuit filed against a drug task force in southeast Alaska challenges the seizure of personal property by law enforcement and seeks more transparency in the search warrant process.

Read more
Wed, 02/22/2017 - 12:41

Funding sought for improvements along popular Alaska trail

KODIAK — A nonprofit organization that works to develop and maintain trails in southern Alaska is looking for alternative sources of funding to improve a popular trail in Kodiak after jurisdictional issues caused the group to miss out on grant money for the project.

Read more


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback