City bans fishing from cargo and petroleum docks

by Mark Arehart on April 2, 2013

When the Bethel City Council passed an ordinance banning fishing from the city cargo and petroleum docks, many in the community were concerned. However, the council says the vast majority of fishing spots along the Kuksokwim are open to fishers this spring and summer.

Modesta Prince loves to fish for Lush and Whitefish along Bethel’s seawall when the ice starts to breakup.

“I was upset because we look forward to doing that every summer,” she said.

Many in Bethel shared her concern, fearing their favorite fishing spots along the river would be cut off.

At the last regular meeting council member Mark Springer explained that just two areas prohibited from fishing: the city cargo dock adjacent to Brown’s Slough and the petroleum dock on Standard Oil Road by the Crowley Tank Farm.

“It’s not the seawall it’s not the rock wall. It’s just two areas where people shouldn’t be because there is industrial activity going on there through the shipping season and sometimes throughout the year. And they are basically not public areas,” Springer said.

Those two sections make up a small portion of fishing spots along the Kuskokwim here in Bethel. Councilmember Rick Robb said he want’s to keep as much of that open as possible.

“Everyday there’s people down there jigging, you know, going for lush and whitefish. I think we need to understand that that’s a traditional use and we need to protect that for the rest of the seawall. I think that’s important,” he said.

And that is good news for fishers like Modesta Prince.

“I feel good. I’m relieved, because, well, I just love to fish.”

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