The skipper of a fishing boat from Neah Bay, Wash., pleaded guilty July 28 to fishing for salmon in Canadian waters. Thomas Hahn was fined $3,395. He and two crew members - all tribal members - were arrested July 27 aboard the 33-foot Maria Mae, which was seized. Also seized were two rifles. All three were charged under Canada's Coastal Fisheries Act with catching sockeye, British Columbia's most prized salmon, in an area closed to commercial fishing boats. Lawyer Rory Morahan said their boat, with its net out, was caught in a drift and "wasn't powerful enough to stay out of Canadian waters." The boat and its equipment will be returned to them, he said. Officials pegged retail value of the 765 sockeye aboard the Mariah Mae at about $17,000. The government sold the catch to a processor for about $6,170, which will be kept by the Canadian government. Two members of the tribe were fined about $2,700 each in July 1997 for fishing in Canadian waters near Jordan River. For the past several years Canada's West Coast salmon harvest has been drastically cut because of declining stocks. Conservation efforts have reduced the salmon fleet and put thousands of fishermen out of work.
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