Federal Subsistence Board Discusses Federalization of Coho Fishery, No Action Yet

by Ben Matheson on July 30, 2014

CVS commercial tender Kelly Mae in Bethel, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

CVS commercial tender Kelly Mae in Bethel, Saturday, July 12, 2014. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

There’s no action yet from the Federal Subsistence Board on the proposed federalization of the coho salmon fishery. The board met in a work session Wednesday and talked through the issue.

It’s not clear what the board’s intentions are going forward, but they support the state’s suspension of commercial fishing periods, according to a forthcoming press release read at the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group.

But Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Geoff Haskett, said that if conditions change, the board will take action quickly to “ensure a priority for subsistence users is provided and protected.”

Six tribes and groups have asked the board to take over the fishery from the state to stop commercial openings and ensure that upriver subsistence fishermen have the opportunity to harvest silver salmon. That comes after long king restrictions, and the chum and red runs came in smaller than expected.

Before the board takes any action, they’re expecting an in-depth analysis of the fishery and the many subsistence users that’s being done by the Office of Subsistence Management, along with their recommendation.

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