Who will manage the Lower Kuskokwim subsistence fishery this summer and how they will do it will be decided in the middle of this month.
There are two main plans on the table for managing the fishery under federal jurisdiction.
The first, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, would close the portion of the Kuskokwim River inside the Yukon Delta Wildlife Refuge to king salmon fishing from June 12 through August 30 and limit fishing to subsistence users.
The other plan, from the Native Village of Akiak, would close that section of the Kuskokwim to king salmon fishing from May 20 to June 30 and limit fishing to designated community fishermen with harvest quotas. This is similar to what happened in 2015.
Under both plans, federal managers would manage the river in consultation with tribes.
A management decision will be made in less than two weeks on May 16 and 17 when the Federal Subsistence Board takes up the issue at a meeting in Anchorage. That will be after reviewing recommendations from the public, as well as state and federal bodies, and consultation with tribes and Native corporations.
The most recent recommendation comes from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council. The council voted on Thursday for a proposal that merges the two plans. The council voted to close the Lower Kuskokwim to king salmon fishing from May 25 to June 30 and limit fishing to designated community fishermen with harvest quotas.