king salmon

An appeals court upheld a district court conviction of 13 Yup'ik fishermen. Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

An appeals court upheld a district court conviction of 13 Yup’ik fishermen. Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

The Alaska Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court’s decision that Yup’ik fishermen who fished during a state closure should be convicted. The decision was issued today.

In 2012 the thirteen defendants, all Yup’ik Alaska Native fishermen living a subsistence lifestyle, were charged with violating the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s emergency orders restricting fishing for king salmon on the Kuskokwim River.
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2015 is predicted to be a below-average king salmon run. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

2015 is predicted to be a below-average king salmon run. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

The state is expecting a bigger run of king salmon on the Kuskokwim this summer, but still well below average. State managers say they expect strong conservation measures to continue in 2015 to ensure enough fish make it up the river to spawn. Leading up to the season, managers are seeking early input to make the season a success.

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FishAs the Pollack season wraps up in the Bering Sea, the Association of Village Council Presidents and the Tanana Chiefs Conference want immediate action to protect declining Western Alaska wild Chinook Salmon stocks from trawl bycatch.

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AFN President, Julie Kitka talks with reporters at the Boney Courthouse.

AFN President, Julie Kitka talks with reporters at the Boney Courthouse. Photo by Daysha Eaton/KYUK

Three judges with the Alaska Court of appeals are now weighing whether Yup’ik Fishermen, who targeted Chinook or king Salmon during a closure on the Kuskokwim River in 2012, were wrongfully convicted. Their attorney based their defense on a 1970’s moose-hunting case. The fishermen say state fisheries managers interfered with their religious rights and they want new regulations to insure it won’t happen again.

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ADF&GCommercial salmon fishing in the Quinhagak and Goodnews Bay districts is set for Monday. A 12-hour opener begins at 9 a.m. in both districts.
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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 →

Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

Gillnet fishing restrictions have been relaxed on the lower Kuskokwim river.

From the mouth to Chuathbaluk subsistence fishing for chum and sockeye salmon with 6-inch gillnets, up to 50 fathoms long will be open until further notice. Managers say chum and sockeye far outnumber kings at this point. Managers are also opening up dipnetting to 24/7 on the same stretch. Fishermen must release any king salmon caught back to the river. Read more →

AVCP President Myron Naneng speaks to the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

AVCP President Myron Naneng speaks to the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Fishers on the lowest part of the Kuskokwim river can use 6-inch gillnets indefinitely as of Friday morning and more openings are rolling up the river as the bulk of this year’s king salmon run passes by. In a year in which meeting escapement is the top priority, managers are proceeding with caution.

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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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Bethel Test Fishery early season catch. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Bethel Test Fishery early season catch. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

The first four hour driftnet opening from the Johnson River to Tuluksak will be Tuesday morning from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fishers targeting chum and red salmon will be limited to 6 inch mesh, no longer than 25 fathoms. If fishermen use a longer net, the excess webbing must be tied up or in a bag secured in the boat.

And from the Johnson River to the southern tip of Eek Island, there will be an eight hour period beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday and lasting until 4:00 p.m. Fishermen can use 50 fathom nets of 6 inch mesh or less.

The full release is available here.

Managers say Friday evening’s 4 hour opener on the lower river brought out approximately 198 boats. They estimate that of 11,000 salmon caught, about 670 were king salmon. With an early Chinook run, they expect the majority of kings to have moved past Bethel by sometime this week.