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 →
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.
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.
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.
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.