Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Federal SSubcommittee on Kenai Peninsula Subsistence Fishery Proposals to Meet Feb. 2-3 in Soldotna

From a USFWS News Release:

The Southcentral Alaska Federal Subsistence Regional Advisory Council's subcommittee on Kenai Peninsula subsistence fishery proposals will meet Friday and Saturday, Feb. 2-3, at the Kenai River Center in Soldotna. This meeting is open to the public and will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday and at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The regional advisory council voted in December to form a subcommittee that will provide recommendations to the council on current Federal subsistence fishery proposals for Federal public waters within the Kenai, Kasilof and Swanson river drainages and Six Mile and Resurrection creek drainages. The subcommittee's work will focus on methods and means of harvest, harvest limits, and fishery seasons.

The following organizations and communities will be represented on the subcommittee:

* Salamatoff Tribe
* Ninilchik Tribe
* Kenaitze Tribe
* Kenai River Sportfishing Association
* Kenai River Professional Guides Association
* United Cook Inlet Drift Association
* Kenai Peninsula Fisherman's Association
* Community of Cooper Landing
* Community of Hope
* Community of Ninilchik

Two members of the Southcentral council will serve as nonvoting members of the subcommittee.

The council has requested that the subcommittee provide recommendations to the council prior to the council's March 13-16 meeting. The council will then develop recommendations on fishery proposals for the Federal Subsistence Board, prior to the Board's May 8-10 meeting.

Additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program can be found on the agency's website.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Halibut Limit Cut to One Fish

The International Pacific Halibut Commission has cut the bag limit to one fish for part of the summer in southcentral and southeast Alaska. Commercial fishing interests point out that the charter fleet has consistently gone over its quota for several years. Sport fishing interests point out that the commercial fleet has the lion's share of available fish.

The decision will become regulation upon signature of the US Secretary of State, although court action is possible.

Read the entire story in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

In a related opinion article, Anchorage Daily News outdoors writer Craig Medred wrote "The people who manipulated the political system to make halibut into a luxury item priced almost out of reach of the average consumer are at it again. To keep their lock on 90 percent of Alaska's flatfish catch, commercial fishing interests are now going after John Q. Angler."

Medred points out the disparity of catch between the huge catches of the commercial fleet and the much smaller catches of the charter fleet.

Read the entire story in the Anchorage Daily News Outdoors section >>>

Friday, January 19, 2007

State Appeals Kenai Fisheries Ruling

The State of Alaska has formally appealed the Federal Subsistence Board's ruling that granted Ninilchik residents a primary right to Kenai River fish.

The Anchorage Daily News reported "In November, the board granted the Ninilchik Traditional Council's request to determine that residents of the southwestern Kenai Peninsula village have made "customary and traditional" use of Kenai River fish. That ruling gives Ninilchik a subsistence priority on parts of the watershed in federal lands, and the council has proposed a gillnet fishery for salmon on the upper Kenai."

Read the entire story in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One Halibut Limit Proposed For 2007 Charters

The International Pacific Halibut Commission has proposed a one halibut limit for parts of the summer for charter boat anglers in southeast and southcentral Alaska. The proposal is a response to growing charter fleet catches which in 2006 exceeded the limit set for the fleet.

The Anchorage Daily News reported: "The international panel that manages Pacific halibut will decide this week whether to enforce new one-fish bag limits this summer for Southeast and Southcentral Alaska charter boat anglers.

The current bag limit for charter clients is two halibut per day.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission's staff members suggested the proposal. It's just the latest in a series of attempts to keep the growing halibut charter fleet from exceeding its annual harvest limits in Southeast and Southcentral."


Read the entire article in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

Friday, January 12, 2007

State Parks Wants Susitna Boat Ramp at Willow Creek

The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that the Alaska Division of Parks wants to build a boat ramp near the mouth of Willow Creek on the Susitna River. The $1.2 million facility would allow boaters to launch in calm water off the main Big Su.

"a state-funded study by HDR Alaska Inc. found a safe launch could be built by excavating a basin nearly 300 feet long just downstream from the mouth of Willow Creek. The 4-foot-deep basin, 50 feet wide, would include a single-lane, 100-foot-long concrete ramp for boaters to wheel their boats into the water.

The basin would allow boaters to launch into calm water, and then get up to speed before hitting the fast-flowing current of the Susitna River. Previous plans called for launching directly into the swift current, which concerned state officials. The $25,500 study, finished this winter, also recommends regular removal of snags just downstream from the launch site that pose a hazard to boaters."

Read the entire article in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gillnets on the Kenai May Be Trouble For Rainbows

State fisheries biologists are concerned that subsistence gillnets in the upper Kenai River may lead to depletion of rainbow trout caught incidental to targeted salmon. The Federal Subsistence Board granted priority rights to Ninilchik residents because of claimed customary and traditional use.

The Anchorage Daily News reports that "Any trout incidentally killed in the salmon nets also could go in Ninilchik freezers, according to the proposals, and the state expects that haul to be a big one -- in part because the federal waters where the subsistence priority applies are in the river's upper reaches, where the trout grow fat on salmon eggs and in most size classes are protected by catch-and-release regulations."

Read the entire story in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

SE Alaska King Salmon Regs Set Through Spring

From an ADFG News Release >>>

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the sport fishing bag and possession limits for king salmon in Southeast Alaska and Yakutat will remain in effect through spring 2007. These regulations are:

  • Alaska residents: bag and possession limit of three king salmon 28 inches or greater in length; no annual limit.
  • Nonresidents: bag and possession limit of one king salmon 28 inches or greater in length; annual limit of four king salmon 28 inches or greater in length.
  • Sport anglers may use two rods from January through March, when fishing for king salmon.

The aforementioned apply in all marine waters of Southeast Alaska unless otherwise announced.

These regulations are directives from the Southeast King Salmon Management Plan, and based on the 2006 preseason abundance index determined by the Pacific Salmon Commission’s Chinook Technical Committee. Under the plan, bag and possession limits and other measures for the coming year are based on the prior year’s abundance index, until the following year’s index is formalized. The 2007 abundance index is expected by May 1, 2007. At that time, management measures for the remainder of 2007 will be announced.

For more information about the sport fisheries in Southeast Alaska, contact the nearest Southeast Alaska ADF&G office or visit the ADFG R1 website.

Haines, Skagway Shrimp Closure

From an ADFG News Release

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that the closure of the shrimp sport fishery in 2006 in Lynn Canal, north of the latitude of Seduction Point (59o 04.95’ N) would be extended from January 1 through June 30, 2007 (see attached map). The closure affects all nonresident anglers fishing in Taiya Inlet, Lutak Inlet, Chilkoot Inlet, and Chilkat Inlet. In addition, Taiya Inlet and Lutak Inlet will remain closed to sport fishing for shrimp for all of 2007. Alaska residents may continue to fish for shrimp in these areas under subsistence provisions.

Data collected by the department indicate that shrimp stocks in northern Lynn Canal remain depressed. The commercial catch, and catch-per-unit-effort of shrimp in this area declined steadily between 2001 and 2005. Anecdotal reports by subsistence users indicate that the shrimp stocks have not rebounded. The commercial pot shrimp fishery in Lynn Canal closed on February 28, 2006 and will remain closed throughout 2007. Lynn Canal, north of Seduction Point will be closed to sport fishing for shrimp through June 2007 to protect female shrimp during the egg hatch. Taiya Inlet and Lutak Inlet will be closed for all of 2007 to help these stocks rebuild.

For more information about the sport fisheries in Southeast Alaska, contact the nearest Southeast Alaska ADF&G office or visit the R1 website.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Plant Invader Threat to Kenai Fishery

An imported fast growing grass used in hayfields and ornamentally has the potential to cause harm to salmon streams according to the Kenai Peninsula Borough.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that it could cause significant changes in important ecological relationships and that herbicide is being proposed to deal with it: "Reed canary grass -- the same chest-high aggressor that has uniformly crowded out hundreds of prairie plant species along Midwestern freeways and marshes -- is increasingly choking Kenai Peninsula streams and wet fields, according to borough land manager Marcus Mueller. The danger is that it could crowd out wetland birds and other animals, including the salmon upon which the region's recreational economy depends.

Mueller wants the state to ban the plant's importation and authorize targeted herbicide applications."

Read the entire story in the Anchorage Daily News >>>

Monday, January 01, 2007

State Wants Kenai River "Impaired" Designation

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to classify the Kenai River as "impaired." The point of the request is to force users and agencies to deal with the problem, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

"The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation proposed listing the river after water samples revealed hydrocarbon levels that exceeded state standards of 10 parts per billion in the month of July every year since 2000, when testing began," the Associated Press reported.

Read the entire article in the Anchorage Daily News >>>