king salmon

The state is taking over day-to-day management of Kuskokwim salmon. Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

The state is taking over day-to-day management of Kuskokwim salmon. Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be managing the salmon fishery for the entirety of the Kuskokwim River drainage beginning Thursday. Fishing with gillnets remains closed on the Kuskokwim River and several tributaries.

Federal managers through federal special action took over day-to-day management of the Kuskokwim within the Yukon Delta refuge boundaries during the king salmon run for conservation purposes. They have the ability to restrict fishing to local residents. Read more →

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 →

An fish rack in Bethel sits empty this month. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

A fish rack in Bethel sits empty this month. Photo by Dean Swope / KYUK.

For the first time ever, the state is opening a brief elder’s fishery for king salmon on the middle and upper Kuskokwim. The fishery runs Saturday, June 20th, from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The fishery is open to people age sixty and over. They can have specific family members help, but the elder must be present when they are fishing.
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Bethel Test Fishery numbers are behind 2014 so far. KYUK file photo by Ben Matheson.

Bethel Test Fishery numbers are behind 2014 so far. KYUK file photo by Ben Matheson.

As early June turns to the middle of June, early season worries were evident at the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group meeting Wednesday. So far, the Bethel Test Fishery Chinook numbers are behind last year’s pace. Federal In Season Manager Neil LaLonde is not drawing any conclusions, yet.
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Fresh Kuskokwim salmon. File photo by KYUK.

Fresh Kuskokwim salmon. File photo by KYUK.

King salmon are beginning to show up on the Kuskokwim River. All eyes are on the few kings that are appearing in the Bethel Test Fishery and in subsistence fishermen’s nets during limited 4-inch openings. At a Wednesday work session of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, members prepared for more restrictions as the run picks up and a limited directed harvest.

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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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Federal staff will manage the 2015 king run within the Yukon Delta refuge boundary. Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

Federal staff will manage the 2015 king run within the Yukon Delta refuge boundary. Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

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.

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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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