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Native American Man Gets Jail Time For Illegally Selling Fish

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife -
File photo of a white sturgeon at the ODFW Sturgeon Center at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

A Native American man has been sentenced to four months in jail and he’ll have to pay more than $1,000 in fines for illegally catching and selling chinook salmon and sturgeon in Washington state.

Earlier this month, 46-year-old Donnell Frank pleaded guilty in Klickitat County, Washington, to three felony counts of illegal fish trafficking. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Frank illegally sold two wild chinook and five sturgeon in 2015 and 2016.

Frank caught the fish during the season when subsistence fishing is legal for Native Americans, but that’s also when commercial sales are unlawful. Fish and Wildlife calls the illegal sales “black market activities.”

Frank was fishing on the Columbia River between the Bonneville and McNary dams, where there are populations of both hatchery and federally-protected salmon. The sturgeon population there has been declining for several years.