Apr 162014
Controversial HB 77 Dead In The Water…For This Year

House Bill 77, the controversial bill that would streamline and potentially fast track the State’s permitting process for land and water issues allowed by the Department of Natural Resources.  The bill, if passed, would have eliminated the public’s ability, including tribes, to file for in stream flows to protect salmon and other important natural resources. Here’s the link for an article by Alaska Public Media:  http://www.alaskapublic.org/2014/04/03/lawmakers-shelving-controversial-permitting-bill/ To see both sides of the issue check out: http://homertribune.com/2013/04/death-of-hb-77-is-silver-lining-in-legislative-session/ http://forum.icmj.com/index.php?/topic/287-please-help-support-hb77/ Dakota Phillips setting up a stream gauge on the lower Holokuk River

Apr 162014
KYUK News Cast - Yukon River Fishermen Prepare For Summer Of Conservation

Fisheries managers and fisheries organizations like YRDFA (Yukon River Drainage Fisheries Assoc.) and the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group (KSMWG) are doing their best to get the word out about the conservation needs of the region’s king salmon and the high likelihood for unprecedented restrictions on both rivers this coming summer. Twenty years ago the Yukon’s king run averaged 300,000 fish, last year saw only 76,000.  If the trend continues, it will be difficult to reach the desired escapement goal this coming summer. Here’s the link for the latest on the Yukon River situation: http://kyuk.org/yukon-fisherman-prepare-for-a-summer-of-conservation/

Apr 152014
Supreme Court Rejects The State Of Alaska's  Petition To Overturn The Katie John Case

To the delight of the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) and other native entities across the state the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the State’s petition in the legal case State of Alaska vs Sally Jewell, Secretary of the United States Department of Interior – a.k.a. the Katie John Case. To see AFN’s response go to: http://www.nativefederation.org/2014/03/31/afn-applauds-supreme-court-decision-on-katie-john-case/  But…according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner the legal and/or political wrangling may not be over:  FAIRBANKS – One day after the United States Supreme Court declined the state of Alaska’s appeal in the most recent iteration of the Katie John cases, the fight about subsistence [Read More...}

Apr 142014
NPR Article - Big Fish Stories Getting Littler

Another interesting and telling article, this time from NPR.  I hate to admit this being a fish biologist, but fisheries managers worldwide have had a pretty dismal record of sustaining a high proportion of fisheries in their natural state. I’m not putting the total blame on the biologists necessarily, because there are a lot of political pressures to keep fisheries open when in fact harvest should be curtailed.  Fish are out of sight…therefore more often than not out of mind for many people.  For that reason it’s very easy to not believe the data; it’s also not easy to collect [Read More...}

Apr 142014
Very Interesting AK Dispatch Article - The Salmon Project:Size Matters

Here’s an article everyone living on the Kuskokwim should read.  http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20140212/salmon-project-size-matters Although the Yukon River definitely has some aspects about it that are different than here in the Kusko…see how many similarities you notice as far as our king salmon concerns.  And for anyone that is familiar with the PBS video A Fish Story about the collapse of one of the worlds largest commercial fishery – the North Atlantic cod and other species – you don’t have to look far to see the similarities that occur in most every declining fishery around the world. http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/fishstory/

Apr 122014
KYUK Article - Yup'ik People Express Opinions About The Possibility Of No King Salmon Fishing This Summer

Here’s an excerpt: Some Yup’ik subsistence fishers are preparing to harvest other species of salmon.  Tuntutuliak elder James Charles says the Yup’ik word for fish, “neqa”, shows that all fish are food. “The Yup’ik word for fish can mean “food”, be it chum, king, red or silver, its all food. We never caught a lot of kings when I was a boy because there were no king nets to buy. Those short nets were all made by hand, so they mostly fished for fresh king meals in the spring if they weren’t too late. After that, people would fish mainly [Read More...}

Apr 112014
Why Is Escapement So Important?

In order to answer that, we must first know what escapement is. Escapement is a word biologists use for the salmon that make it past all the fishermen, be they subsistence, commercial or sport fishermen.  Escapement is the amount of fish that manage to reach the spawning grounds, the very same streams they were born in several years before.  In regards to salmon, biologists, consider the total escapement to be how many kings, reds, chums, pinks or coho that spawn in a given year, with each species having their own escapement number. Here is a graph that shows the Kuskokwim [Read More...}

Apr 092014

Here’s an excerpt from that article:  The 2013 numbers led to restrictions on subsistence fishing, and opportunities this year could be even more limited. About half of the run come from Canada, and an international treaty requires that a minimum of 42,500 kings reach the border, Schmidt said. Restrictions last year resulted in the lowest Alaska subsistence harvest on record, but biologists estimated that only 30,500 fish reached Canada, the fifth time in seven years that the total has fallen short of treaty obligations. For the entire article go to: http://www.adn.com/2014/04/09/3417401/fishermen-suggest-moratorium-on.html?sp=/99/100/&ihp=1