We, as a group of Bristol Bay drift fishermen, are deeply concerned about the actions of the Alaska State Troopers and their approach of targeting us, so-called “Russian” fishermen.
This salmon season, around July 2013, it has become increasingly obvious to us of the unfair treatment of our fishing group. We feel strongly discriminated against.
After this 2013 Bristol Bay salmon season, an anonymous video surfaced of Alaska State Troopers videotaping fishing boats on the north line of the Ugashik District. The troopers were crawling around through the grass, hidden from view. After viewing this video, it is obvious that the troopers were targeting us “Russian” boats. Even though there were many non-Russian boats fishing in the same exact location, the troopers called out only the “Russian” boat names in the video.
We feel very discriminated against by the Alaska State Troopers’ approach to us this year, and in years past. This video is not the only evidence of such actions. For example: In 2009, Nushagak District, Schooner Channel, a “Russian” boat made a “perfect set,” 15 feet inside the district during completely slack water. Troopers ran up to the aforementioned vessel and started yelling at the skipper to pull his gear out of the water. Even after clearly proving to the troopers that the vessel and all of the gear were inside the district, the troopers continued to push the law-abiding vessel out, still yelling.
The skipper had no other choice but to pull out his gear. As this “Russian” boat started pulling his gear, at the same time, another non-Russian boat set his gear even closer to the line. The troopers witnessed all of this happen in a matter of minutes (still slack water).
The “Russian” skipper saw clearly that the troopers made room for the second vessel (because there was no yelling, and the Troopers simply sped off).
There are many other similar discriminating examples.
We are all United States citizens (born and raised). We want to be treated equally. We do not want to write these types of complaints. But unfortunately, it’s become unbearable. We want this type of harassment to stop.
Nikolie Basargin, David Kalugin, Boris Basargin, Gavrel Basargin, Ivan Basargin, Nick Basargin,
Fred Basargin and Dennis Basargin