Hunting & Fishing

Stories related to subsistence/commercial/sport: hunting, fishing, gathering activities.

Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams played an integral part in salvaging the gray whale carcass outside of Napaskiak.
Katie Basile/KYUK

It’s been almost a week since volunteers pulled a gray whale’s carcass to shore near Napaskiak, and Delta residents have cut it down to its bones. Local leaders expect the whale to feed hundreds of people, its blubber and meat shared with villages up and down the Kuskokwim River. It was a busy weekend for them: working around the clock to salvage the carcass, and hoping to avert a social media backlash and legal consequences.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Climate change may be responsible for pushing Alaska’s gray whales up into estuaries and rivers like the Kuskokwim.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Watch our video summary of the gray whale harvested on the Kuskokwim river last week. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Parts of the gray whale taken near Napaskiak on Thursday are traveling up and down the region. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Any whale meat that hasn’t been eaten should be consumed soon. 

Arnold Brower, Executive Director of the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission and a whaling captain from Barrow, says that whale meat does not keep for long and should be consumed within a week. 

Silver salmon fills the bottom of a boat during a subsistence opening in August 2016 near Bethel.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Hopes for a commercial fishery on the Kuskokwim river have officially been dashed. 

Dept. of the Interior

Update 9 a.m. August 1, 2017: The FAA has fixed the weather observation system in St. Mary's, and large planes are now able to fly in and out of the airport.  

Original story posted July 31, 2017: The number of fish buyers on the Yukon River remains at one: Kwik’Pak Fisheries based in District 1. That number was set to rise to two on Monday, but problems with air transportation prevented it.

Katie Basile / KYUK

On Saturday night, a tired crew of volunteers dragged a large gray whale carcass onto shore near the Napaskiak airport. The whale was gray, bloody, and barnacled, and the men who set to work butchering it said that it was at least 37-feet long. Residents are still distributing its blubber and meat, saying that it will feed families throughout the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for months.

Katie Basile / KYUK

Meat and blubber from the whale killed Thursday evening in the Kuskokwim River is currently being distributed to surrounding villages. Six boats dragged the 37-foot long whale to shallow water between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. A yellow front end loader then carried the carcass to the Napaskiak shore. 

Katie Basile / KYUK

Update 7:00 p.m.: Locals have pulled the whale from the Kuskokwim River onto the Napaskiak shore.

Original story 6:00 p.m.:

Locals continue working to drag the carcass of a large whale out of the Kuskokwim River. A team of boats outside of Napaskiak is still struggling to drag the sunken whale to shore. According to  Napaskiak Tribal Administrator Sharon Williams,  Joe Evon of Search and Rescue was able to hook the whale and drag it 20 feet this morning before the rope he was using snapped in two.