subsistence

Representatives from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula and Canada are visiting Yukon River villages this week. Map from Google maps.

Representatives from Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula and Canada are visiting Yukon River villages this week. Map from Google maps.

Yukon and Kuskokwim fishermen have struggled with unprecedented fishing restrictions this summer and diminished salmon runs for years. But they’re not the only ones: Russian and Canadian fishermen are hurting too. A delegation from those two countries is in southwest Alaska this week to learn from Yukon residents’ experience.
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Department of Fish and Game District W-1. The proposed opening would be in the lowest section of 1-B.

Department of Fish and Game District W-1. The proposed opening would be in the lowest section of 1-B.

As the Kuskokwim River king salmon run comes to an end, the Department of Fish and Game is looking toward a commercial chum opening in the lower river Friday. But in a year with unprecedented Chinook restrictions and increased reliance on chum salmon, many middle river fisherman say it’s too early.
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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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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 →