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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Federal staff will again manage king salmon on the lower Kuskokwim River after requests from tribes. Earlier this year, a handful of tribal governments asked the federal subsistence board to implement federal management. The Federal Subsistence Board deferred last month, but at a Friday meeting of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, US Fish and Wildlife Service leaders announced a plan for federal management.
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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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.
As 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.
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.
Commercial 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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Another 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 →
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 →