kuskokwim river salmon management working group

Research Biologist Kevin Shaberg (second from right) explains the Bethel Test Fishery's relationship with run size and timing. Photo by Ben Matheson  / KYUK.

Research Biologist Kevin Shaberg (second from right) explains the Bethel Test Fishery’s relationship with run size and timing. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

The entire Kuskokwim River is open to six-inch gillnets and managers are shifting focus from king salmon to other species, including a potential commercial chum salmon opening.

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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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