chinook salmon

File photo by Shane Iverson/KYUK.

File photo by Shane Iverson/KYUK.

Federal fishery managers are closing down gillnet fishing on the Kuskokwim River below Tuluksak including the four-inch set net openers scheduled on the weekend.

In a news release, managers write that the 2015 king salmon run is still very uncertain and could be significantly weaker than 2014. They say more precaution is necessary until the strength of the run can be gauged. Read more →

KYUK’s Shane Iverson and Sophie Evan facilitated a two-hour show in English and Yup’ik on Wednesday the 20th regarding this season’s salmon management plan.

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L-R: Greg Roczicka, Aaron Poetter, Mark Leary, Neil Lalonde. Photo by Geraldine Brink/KYUK

The discussion includes what you need to know this summer and what the closures mean for the health of the river and its people. The first hour is dedicated to getting an understanding of the roles of federal, state, and tribal management plans. Comments and questions were taken via email and phone for the second part of the show.

Guests:
Neil Lalonde – Yukon Delta Refuge manager, Federal In Season ManagerIMG_7937

Mark Leary – Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group RepresentativeIMG_7941

Greg Roczicka – Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission RepresentativeIMG_7929

Aaron Poetter – State Management Biologist, Alaska Department of Fish and GameIMG_7931

Part One:

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Part Two:

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Part Three:

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Part Four:

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This special program will be rebroadcasted on 640 AM on Wednesday, May 20th, starting at 7pm.

Salmon on drying racks, Kuskokwim River. Photo by Shane Iverson, KYUK.

Salmon on drying racks, Kuskokwim River. Photo by Shane Iverson, KYUK.

Expecting another poor king salmon run, the first fishing restrictions are expected to go into effect on May 21st. With the lessons learned from 2014, managers hope to bring enough king salmon to spawning grounds and allow for limited fishing along the way.
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The Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission met for the first time in Bethel. Photo by Ben Matheson  / KYUK.

The Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission met for the first time in Bethel. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

The path to unified management of Kuskokwim salmon stocks is uncharted, but along the way the newly established Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission wants involvement at each step. That begins with tribal consultation in preparations for another summer of sacrifice. The commission’s inaugural meeting concluded Wednesday in Bethel.

Another weak run of king salmon is expected this summer after several years of decline. State and federal managers are planning a slate of restrictions on par with last year’s, which brought in the smallest king salmon harvest on record.

Delegate Arthur Lake of Kwigillingok wants tribes to be part of the decisions.
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FishThe Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group wants the state to end to all commercial openings for the remainder of the summer. The say despite unmet subsistence needs the state has allowed commercial salmon openings. Some upriver fishermen are fed up with the state, and want the Federal Subsistence Board to manage the river from here on out.

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ADF&GAnother commercial opening for salmon fishing on the Kuskowkiwm starts Monday, July 21st. Waters from Bethel to the mouth will open to commercial salmon fishing from noon to 6pm. Read more →

An ancient smokehouse near the village of Napaskiak. Photo by Daysha Eaton

An ancient smokehouse near Napaskiak. – Photo by Daysha Eaton

It’s an annual tradition going back thousands of years for Yup’ik people living along the Kuskokwim river: fish camp. Each summer families relocate to catch, dry and smoke fish to sustain them through the long winter, the most coveted of which is the King Salmon. But fishing restrictions this year, have hit many families hard.

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The Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group discusses the first 6" gillnet openings.  Photo by Ben Matheson/KYUK.

The Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group discusses the first 6″ gillnet openings. Photo by Ben Matheson/KYUK.

Four weeks into salmon fishing restrictions, the atmosphere along the Kuskokwim River is tense. At a meeting Tuesday the stress the closures are causing was obvious. But gillnet fishing for salmon is near.

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After five days of fish meetings that brought state and federal managers together, along with tribal leaders, advisory council members, and Working Group members from up and down the Kuskokwim River, fishers still don’t know exactly what’s going to happen during the 2014 fishing season.

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James Charles discusses salmon management at the Yukon Kuskokwim Subsistence Regional Advisory Council meeting in Bethel. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

James Charles discusses salmon management at the Yukon Kuskokwim Subsistence Regional Advisory Council meeting in Bethel. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

The Yukon Kuskokwim Subsistence Regional Advisory Council on Monday pushed forward a recommendation to close fishing for king salmon to all but federally qualified subsistence users. They also moved to prioritize the allocation of any surplus to those who cut, dry, and smoke kings in the traditional way.

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