The following letter was recently sent to ADF&G fisheries managers by Mark Leary expressing his frustrations over his dissatisfaction of the way the fisheries have been – and still are – managed this season. This sentiment is shared by other subsistence users – including some other Working Group members and especially middle and upriver fishers who tend to have a more difficult time harvesting adequate salmon compared to lower river fishers.
Been reflecting a lot over the past two months of subsistence fishing on the Kuskokwim and the growing frustration/dissatisfaction with State management of the fishery – especially with regard to the Middle and Upper River.
We requested that fish wheels be allowed 24/7 early in the season as was allowed in Federally managed waters. THIS WAS IGNORED
We requested that an Elder Fishery for a small amount of King Salmon be allowed in State waters similar to the Social/Cultural Permit allowed in Federal waters. THIS WAS IGNORED
We requested that escapement data for missing years at two of the weirs be included in the charts that are provided in our meeting packets. THIS WAS IGNORED
We requested that there be no commercial fishing on the end of the Chum and beginning of the Silver runs. THIS WAS IGNORED – NOT ONCE, BUT 3 TIMES
If my memory is working right I believe these requests were all, if not most, supported through formal votes of the KRSMWG. Not only was there no follow through on our requests but there was little or no communication back from ADF&G directly to the KRSMWG explaining why these requests could not be implemented. I find this very troubling. Our group is made up of reasonable People with a great ability for understanding and compromise. But the lack of communication from the Department regarding our requests becomes naturally viewed as disrespect.
We’re not worth the time of day and ADF&G is going to do whatever it wants.
But the truth is – we aren’t primitive children who don’t know what’s good for us. We are local People with a long term perspective of subsistence, commercial, and even sport fishing on Our River and a deeply vested interest in maintaining the sustainability of Kuskokwim Salmon stocks for our descendants.
The disrespect whether it be real or perceived, to the KRSMWG is unacceptable and if we are going to go forward as an effective local advisory group, it must be resolved.
Or the current management system must be replaced.