Natives thought whale kill was legal

    Bethel, Alaska (KINY) A federal investigative report showed natives thought they had killed a legal beluga whale.

    The Associated Press reported the natives killed a protective gray whale with harpoons and guns after it strayed into the Kuskokwim River last year.  The hunters are not being prosecuted for the unauthorized kill.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did send letters to officials in three communities, Bethel, Napaskiak, and Oscarville, that warned future offenses would be dealt with more severely.  The letter also explained the limits on subsistence whaling.

    Vivian Korthuis, CEO of the Association of Village Council Presidents, said her group respects laws and treaties that protect whales.  She said the organization provided presentations about whaling at its annual convention last October to help educate the region.

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