Quinhagak Fishers Weigh Measures to Protect Kings

by Daysha Eaton on May 30, 2014

Quinhagak

The village of Quinhagak sits near the mouth of the Kuskokwim River.

The Native Village of Quinhagak met Friday, May 29, to discuss what can be done to preserve the Chinook or King Salmon run in local rivers.

Tribal leaders there are concerned that salmon closures in the Kuskokwim drainage may drive subsistence fishers down to the Quinhagak area where subsistence fishing is open.

Among those attending were state and federal managers, as well as commercial sport and subsistence fishers.

Much of the meeting was dedicated to taking testimony from the public.  A debate also opened up between some sport fishers and subsistence fishers.  The sport fishers said they support the closures, that they don’t target King Salmon and, if they catch Kings, they release them.  But subsistence fishers said that was not true and reported seeing sport fishers taking boxes of fish to the airport.

State and Federal regulators also spoke, presenting statistics and taking questions.

There was discussion about banning fishing on Sundays as well as possibly blocking the mouth of the Qanirtuk River to keep fishers out.

Commercial fishing is prohibited in the bay area around Quinhagak during the King Salmon run this year.

The Native Village of Quinhagak did not make any decisions at the meeting.

In 2012 King escapement reached a record low but the tribe credits restrictions in 2013 for improving King escapement.

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