APNewsBreak: US won't prosecute Alaska gray whale kill

June 08, 2018 - 2:53 pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Native hunters in Alaska will not be prosecuted after they used harpoons and guns last year to kill a protected gray whale that strayed from the North Pacific Ocean into a river.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials launched an investigation into the unauthorized July 2017 kill after the massive animal strayed into the Kuskokwim River near the Yup'ik village of Napaskiak.

The 37-foot (11-meter) whale was cut up for distribution among Alaska Natives in several villages.

The agency says in a statement provided to The Associated Press that three compliance assistance letters advised villages about the law and limits to subsistence whaling.

The agency declined comment on which villages received the letters.

Gray whales are off limits to Alaska hunters, including Alaska Natives.

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