• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 23s

Alaska Board of Fisheries votes to ‘pair restrictions’

By Heather Hintze 8:02 PM February 5, 2014

The decision links restrictions on sportfishing with setnetting and personal use

ANCHORAGE - The Alaska Board of Fisheries made a major decision to conserve king salmon on the Kenai River.

The board voted 6-1 Wednesday to pass a proposal to “pair restrictions.”

This links restrictions on sportfishing in rivers with restrictions to setnetting and personal use fishing.

If the king return is too low, sportfishermen won’t be able to use bait. When that happens, setnetters will be limited to 36 hours of fishing a week. They also have the option of using three shorter nets or two longer ones.

Personal use fishermen will not be allowed to retain their king salmon.

Setnetters aren’t happy about the decision. They said they don’t catch enough kings to warrant restrictions on their fishery like cutting down the number of hours.

“We need to fish on abundance,” said Robert Williams, president of the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association. “When the sockeye are on the beach, fish and then get out. It lets all the other sockeye and kings get into the river. But when you have prescribed hours it takes tools out of the tool box in order to allow us to fish and prosecute our fishery.”

Sportfishermen said they’ve faced their share of restrictions over the past decade. They said this is a better way to make sure all user groups are conserving the fish.

“What the goal is with the step-down measures is to allow both fisheries to fish through the month of July without closure,” said Ricky Gease, executive director for the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. ”I think these step-down measure go a long way into providing that as an option.”

“The sportfishing industry is down 70 percent, we’re talking millions of dollars,” said Andy Szczesny with the Kenai River Professional Guide’s Association. ”I think we have to share the burden.”

Setnetters don’t want the two fisheries to be linked and said it would affect them financially if their hours are shaved off.

“We don’t have time in the water to make money to fish to really execute a business,” said east side setnetter Chris Every. It’s getting very difficult.”

“We’re not happy,” Williams said. “The goal is raised so more fish have to be provided for the river, and we just don’t have anything left.”

The board took public comments from hundreds of people before making the decision. Chairman Karl Johnstone said it’s impossible to please everyone.

“Nobody likes to make a decision that’s going to hurt somebody,” Johnstone said. ”Unfortunately when you’re protecting the fish and there’s far more people chasing far fewer fish, something’s got to give and it shouldn’t be the fish. It should be the users.”

The board still has more than 200 proposals to go through during the rest of its two-week meeting. Other big topics on the agenda include drift netting regulations and red and pink escapement goals.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Administration institutes hiring freeze amid budget dispute

    by Associated Press on May 29, 12:39

    Gov. Bill Walker’s administration instituted a hiring freeze across most departments Friday, while lawmakers met behind closed doors in Anchorage in hopes of brokering an end to a long-running budget impasse. The freeze, instituted pending a budget deal, took effect days before notices could be sent to state employees warning of possible layoffs if a […]

  • News

    In Alaska, inmate health care costs continue to climb

    by Hope Miller on May 29, 12:04

    Alaska’s inmate population has grown and aged in recent years, a period that has also seen a sharp spike in inmate health care costs for the state.  In fiscal year 2002, the state spent $17.6 million on inmate health care, which includes behavioral and physical health care expenditures. By fiscal year 2014, that number had […]

  • News

    Pebble permits flout constitutional requirements, court rules

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 29, 11:34

    Land use permits allowing extensive mineral exploration at the site of the proposed Pebble Mine were issued without proper public notice, according to the Alaska Supreme Court. The Friday court decision is the latest development in an ongoing suit against the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the Pebble Limited Partnership. Nunamta Aulukestai — a coalition […]

  • Sports

    Yukon Quest board announces best finances in 6 years

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:41

    Yukon Quest leaders announced a $38,000 surplus, the largest surplus the organization has seen in 6 years. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports (http://bit.ly/1PRXCYx) that leaders of the 1,000-mile Fairbanks-to-Whitehorse sled dog race announced the budget at their annual meeting Thursday. Board President Bill McDonald says he expects prize money for the race to stay the […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Tai Trujillo

    by Daybreak Staff on May 29, 10:02

    When it comes to her music, Tai Trujillo is an artist with three goals: Make you laugh, make you think and make you feel like you’re not alone. A local singer songwriter whose influences include Stevie Wonder, Fiona Apple and Florence and the Machine, Trujillo performed live on Friday’s Daybreak for a Mic Check in […]

  • Politics

    White House vow to veto fishing law changes sparks fight

    by Associated Press on May 29, 9:16

    A White House pledge to veto proposed changes to federal fishing laws is dividing fishermen over whether the rule changes should be saved or scrapped. Congressman Don Young, an Alaska Republican, wants to change the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide fishery managers with more flexibility in rebuilding fish stocks. The White House […]

  • DayBreak

    Meet Ahma, this week’s Daybreak Adopt-A-Pet

    by Daybreak Staff on May 29, 8:16

    Ahma came to the Anchorage Animal Care and Control Center as a stray and brought her four kittens along. This sweet family went into foster care until the kittens were weaned. Two of the four kittens have found homes already and the other two will be available soon. But AACCC staff don’t want this mom […]

  • News

    UPDATE: Some Alaska residents flee strong quake over tsunami fears

    by Associated Press on May 29, 7:23

    Updated 11:15 a.m. ANCHORAGE - A powerful earthquake sent some coastal Alaska residents running for higher ground in fear they would be swamped by a tsunami. The magnitude-6.7 quake struck at 11 p.m. Thursday and was centered in the ocean about 35 miles beneath the seabed and some 400 miles southwest of Anchorage. It hit a […]