Megan Leary posted a notice on Facebook encouraging people to participate in the show on Friday discussing king salmon conservation. Here are the responses so far to Megan’s post. If these comments are any indication, it should be a lively discussion.
People not in earshot of KYUK can hear it on the Internet at http://kyuk.org/category/radio/ (Click the circle that says “Stream 640 AM”).
We have removed the names of the commenters and instead are using initials.
Mark your calendar: December 13 – 11am KYUK King salmon conservation call in show to talk about what it’s like to fish in the middle and upper Kuskokwim after the huge population of the lower river has caught what they want leaving little for escapement or for people upriver to fish and fill their freezers with.
PASS THIS MESSAGE ALONG to the other people of the middle and upper river. And please tune in to KYUK and call in if you are from the villages of Kalskag on up.
The voices of the middle and upper residents were being heard this summer when you called in to the King Salmon Working Group meetings.
“We all need to take less or maybe no Kings for a while to let them build back up for our kids and grand kids. Thanks.”-Mark Leary
My dad and I will be hosting this call-in show along with Glen Lindsey from Bethel who works for the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game at the Kogrukluk River fish counting weir.
BS – Too bad we cant even hear kyuk in kally!!!
FC – I fish in the middle. No need to complain. Our elders once told us when u fight for something it eventually disappears. Therefore I disagree to argue…my advise.. Just let it be. The more u fight n argue the fish will disappear. So stop here!!! N come up with other solutions to bring the fish back!!! No hard feelings just my opinion.
AK – I agree with you FC…we fish but we don’t take more than we need. That’s also what I hear from our Elders…
NL – Listen to KYUK on the internet. Hopefully the weather will be good or our speeds will keep up??
CG – Easy, give them only a week to fish and close King Salmon fishing for them. Every year they plug the Kusko below Bethel and they know they are not suppose to do that.
FC – Look at how much those boats(ships) are throwing overboard!!!
FC – That is why we gave been having closures in the past years!!!!
FC – Fish overboard!’ Look into it!! It’s not the the lower portion. They only take what they need!’ That is how it has always been!!’ I have a fishcamp in the lower portion n have never took more than what I needed!!!
RJ – The population has doubled here in Bethel in the last 30 years. More people need more fish. We can’t control what the big boats do on the high seas. We can only control what we have here. Closing King salmon and eating chum might save our Chinook fishery from certain doom.
DC – Try to drive from Bethel to Napaskiak when the kings are running and tell me those fish have a chance to get past that sand bar right above Oscarville.
RJ – A very respected elder told me that when she was young and the King run was low, they restrained and ate chum. It’s time to do our part and leave the Kings alone. Let them rebound just like we did with the moose and EVERYONE will be happy.
BA – FACT: Ninety (90) percent of Kings harvested on the Kuskokwim are caught from the mouth of the river to Tuluksak. FACT: Seventy five (75) percent of that 90 percent are caught in the Bethel area, not above or below, but in the Bethel area. FACT: Five (5) percent of the Kings harvested on the river are caught from Tuluksak to Nickolai. Most of our beloved Elders are not aware of these facts, otherwise they (like me) would voice their concern that almost all the harvest is occurring in the Bethel area. There has to be restrictions. Our OLD PEOPLE never targeted Kings, they fished for the chums, reds and silvers because their numbers were so great. They always encouraged us to let the FIRST Kings pass to reach their spawning grounds to reproduce. Whenever a King was caught it was treated with honor and respect. There were never large mesh nets used to harvest salmon, just the size that would harvest the most chums and reds. There were never any set nets longer than sixty (60) feet long or drift nets longer than one hundred (100) feet long. Up here and up-river fish wheels were the ultimate in harvesting salmon, and not targeting Kings. Silvers were harvested on a limited basis, because of the rainy and damp weather conditions. Contrary to what these new people tell you, CHUMS and reds were always the mainstay of people who harvested, prepared and preserved NEQA (FOOD), the name for all species of salmon. I know it is hard for many of you younger money oriented people to believe what I am saying, but it is all true, for I have lived all my short seventy-eight (78) years on the serene, generous KUSKOKWIM RIVER. She has always been kind and generous to all those who treated her with love, honor and respect. When IN-RIVER commercial fishing was introduced in the early sixties, that love, honor and respect was replace with greed, because BIG FISH got you BIG MONEY. There has to be a complete closure of commercial fishing for all salmon, if we are sincere about saving the salmon for our grandchildren and their decendants. UMYUANGCARNARIUQ!
MS – i agree with BA. with all the commercial fishing sure is putting a lot of hurt on the king run. durin the salmon run up here with our efferts of fishing our famlily only caught three kings to share the whole summer an with chums an reds combined less then 70 fish were hung to dry for winter comsumtion which was split to our four family house holds.
JS – Thank you Megan, I’ll let my Mom know also.
AL- Everyone will fish for what they need, but we need to open our eyes to the reality of what is happening to our chinook salmon: their population is dying and before we know it, no one will be able to fish for what they need. I will be the last person to poke fingers and blame down river villages for catching most of the chinook salmon, but I won’t hold back to say that as upset as people may get, we need restrictions. There’s little to nothing upriver and as a person from both the lower and upper kuskokwim, having restrictions on the chinook salmon isn’t taking away from our subsistence right or privileges given to us by God, but rather shows that as people of this river we can come together to support all the families of the different regions and work together to save the richness of our salmon so that generations like me and generations after me can learn to live by the fish like our people always have. Stop turning to commercial fishing or fish & game or whatever else that people may hold animosity towards and rather look to your left and look to your right, look in your freezers and on your dinner table, and be thankful for the subsistence food that you DO have and realize that there are people, people of OUR river, sitting at home who aren’t able to enjoy the sweetness of the chinook salmon and yet we can still argue about restrictions. I strongly believe that we will survive working around fishing restrictions and that supporting and abiding by the rules will help to fill our river with the richness of the chinook salmon that our people and our river have always been so privileged to have.
SG – yes fishing up here, sometimes we had to do 4 or 6 drifts to cut 8-12 fish in a day.
JA – I lived down there for a year and also fished and we had a set net on the sandbar in front of oscarville and we were like number five or six net out of 12 o13 and we avereged 20 kings in about twelve hours and 90 percent were female. There was about the same amount on the other side of the river. You do the math. If i could catch fish like that for my family i would be done in two days. Its a bottle neck of the kuskokwim river. Even while people are having set nets people are drifting all over the place down there. I really couldn’t believe what i was seeing.