Radiation testing on Alaska salmon in regards to the Fukushima disaster shows that our fish are safe to eat.
Subsistence fishing with dip nets will be allowed, 24 hours per day, from 9:00 p.m. Monday, June 30 until 9:00 p.m. Saturday, July 12, 2014. Any king salmon caught in a dip net must be returned immediately to the water unharmed.
From the JohnsonRiver up to Chuathbaluk fishing with 6″ gear or smaller mesh gear will be allowed 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week beginning Monday June 30 at 10:00 am until further notice.
From Chuathbaluk to the Holitna will be open for 8 hours on Monday June 30 between 10:00 am and 6:00 pm with 6″ gear or smaller allowed.
Please keep in mind that the intent is not to target king salmon but the other more abundant chums and reds.
The official ADF&G news release follows (to see the most up to date releases go to http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyareakuskokwim.salmon#/Fishery:
An 8-hour fishing period was allowed today from the Johnson River up to Chuathbaluk; this opening allowed the use of 6″ or smaller mesh sized gear with the intent that fishermen target chum and sockeye salmon. Up until today only 4″ mesh or smaller has been allowed; the purpose for the restrictions have been for the conservation of the king salmon which have returned in very low numbers the past few years.
Last year the Kuskokwim experienced the lowest return on record with only about 47,000 kings reaching the spawning grounds; much lower than the 65,000 minimum escapement goal set by the Department of Fish & Game.
Fishermen in Aniak reported that the fishing today was not exactly fast and furious, with at least up to seven boats fishing the normal drifts near town during the course of the opening.
One group of successful fishermen caught 5 kings, 21 chums and 1 red in three hours of fishing (several drifts produced nothing). Another fisherman caught 6 chums on the first drift at 10:00 am but had to quit due to motor problems.
Last night, several friends and myself tried our hand at dip netting but came up empty after an hour’s try; considering the report from today, the chums and reds likely weren’t around in great numbers either.
There were some people that had more success than others. One fisherman from Chuathbaluk caught over 100 chum and several kings and reds during the opening. Another person caught 30 chums, 3 reds and 1 king several miles downstream of Aniak.
Getting ready to pull the net.
Six of the seven boat close to the ending time vying for the few fish that were caught today during the 8-hour opening.
Here is the most recent Emergency Order for the salmon fishery in the Kuskokwim River:
What follows are the results of the recent subsistence opening on June 20th on the lower section of Kuskokwim River below the mouth of the Johnson River.
Duration: 4 Hours
Location: Below Johnson River to the Mouth of the Kuskokwim R.
Boats observed =198
Boats/people contacted = 62
Average Net length = 273 Ft (Range 105-300)
King CPUE (Catch per unit effort) = 0.84/hr
Chum_Sockeye CPUE = 14 fish/ hr
King/Chum_Sockeye Ratio = 1:16 (for every one king there were 16 chum or sockeye caught)
King estimated harvest (4 hrs)= 673
Participation: approximately < 30% of the boats were from Bethel while 70 % were from lower river villages
Here’s are the particulars for the upcoming opening on the 24th of June (Note the length restrictions depending on what part of the river one is fishing).
The Fish & Wildlife Service will hand over the management of the salmon fishery to the State at 8:00 on Tuesday June 24th. The State will then manage the fishery through Emergency Orders – the most recent issued on Sunday the 22nd is below. Federal permits for a directed tribal Chinook harvest will remain in effect through June 30th; the salmon fishery will also be limited to federally qualified users at least until upriver subsistence fishers have an opportunity to harvest salmon.
See below for details on when 6″ gear will be allowed for various sections of river with the intent of targeting chum and sockeye salmon – but not kings since conservation measures are still in place (example – Johnson River to Tuluksak). Kings incidentally caught, however, can be kept.
News releases with Emergency Orders can be found on the State’s web site at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=commercialbyareakuskokwim.salmon#/Fishery