• 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

  • Weather

    Evening News weather, March 30

    by KTVA Weather on Mar 30, 21:24

    Kenai Peninsula and Prince William Sound Expect mostly cloudy skies for the area, with the bulk of showers along the Eastern Coasts and Prince William Sound, although there could be a light shower or two crossing over the mountains. Expect winds in wind prone areas, and gaps will increase as a weak front pushes through. […]

  • News

    Couple in Homer proposes yurts for Alaska’s homeless

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 30, 21:20

    Housing first — the idea is to offer permanent, affordable housing for the homeless to stop them from ending up back on the streets. It sounds simple enough and appears to be working to end chronic homelessness in other parts of the country. Now, a Homer couple is putting their own twist on the concept. When […]

  • Lifestyle

    In Anchorage, pop-up studio brings art to you

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 30, 19:27

    It’s a night out with cocktails and canvas. On a recent weekday night, SubZero Bistro and Microlounge was full of pop-up painters. “We are painting wine glasses, which is really appropriate, we’re at SubZero,” explained Larissa Villar Aaberg. “They have a still life on their table, so they can paint from a picture or the […]

  • News

    After Chester Creek trail attack, Anchorage residents raise safety concerns

    by Bonney Bowman on Mar 30, 19:09

    A weekend attack is raising concerns about safety on Anchorage’s trails. A woman was stabbed on Chester Creek Trail Sunday afternoon. The victim told officers from the Anchorage Police Department that she was texting and walking near the Northern Lights Boulevard overpass when someone came up behind her, knocked her out, stabbed her and went through […]

  • News

    Coast Guard rescues sick mariner near Cold Bay

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 30, 18:30

    A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Kodiak medevaced a fisherman with severe abdominal pains from a ship 30 miles south of Cold Bay on Sunday. The chopper and a Coast Guard cutter happened to be in the area as part of a continuous Bering Sea patrol mission when guard watchstanders received […]

  • Crime

    Fairbanks PD: Man arrested for DUI after crashing vehicle, stealing forklift

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 30, 17:54

    A Delta Junction man was arrested Monday after crashing his vehicle along Phillips Field Road, then swiping a forklift to try and free his vehicle. His breath alcohol level was .230 — nearly three times the legal limit, according to a release from the Fairbanks Police Department. Police have identified the subject as Aleksandr Glushko. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Endangered beluga whale population sees slight increase in 2014

    by Hope Miller on Mar 30, 15:47

    An endangered beluga whale population saw a slight increase in 2014, but researchers say it’s not a significant jump. The 2014 Cook Inlet beluga population estimate is 340 whales, an increase from 2012 when the population was roughly 312, according to a release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They were first listed as […]

  • Politics

    Bill to decriminalize marijuana clears the Senate

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 14:31

    A bill to decriminalize marijuana cleared the state Senate Monday by a 17 to 3 margin. Senate Bill 30 has gone through various permutations, seesawing between taking pot off the state’s list of controlled substances to putting it back on. Opponents to the bill, three Democrats, said the legislation did not comply with the spirit […]