This is an announcement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Bethel for subsistence fishermen in the Kuskokwim Area.
Effective 12:01 a.m. July 7, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be managing the Kuskokwim River drainage. Subsistence opportunities announced by the State of Alaska will be provided to Alaska residents.
Subsistence fishing in the Kuskokwim River Drainage, from the Yukon Delta NWR boundary at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River up to the mouth of the Holitna River (Sections 1–4), will be allowed from 12:01 p.m. Saturday, July 8, 2017 until further notice. Gillnets are restricted to 6-inch or less mesh, 45 meshes deep, and 25 fathoms in length.
The waters of the Kuskokwim River from a line formed between two points lat 61° 35.264ʹ N, long 159° 33.459ʹ W and lat 61° 35.611ʹ N, long 159° 33.260ʹW upstream to a line formed between two points lat 61° 35.308ʹ N, long 159° 29.167ʹ W and lat 61° 34.731ʹ N, long 159° 28.939ʹW (Figure 1) will be closed to subsistence fishing with gillnets from 12:01p.m. Saturday, July 8, 2017 until further notice.
At the Bethel Test Fishery, the ratio of chum and sockeye salmon to Chinook salmon has averaged roughly 30:1 over the last ten days. Subsistence harvest reports from Wednesday’s Working Group meeting and harvest estimates provided by USFWS from the last two fishing periods in federal waters, indicate that the vast majority of harvest is comprised of chum and sockeye salmon. Restrictions to gillnets and other gear types will mitigate the incidental harvest of Chinook salmon and allow subsistence fishers the ability to harvest the more abundant chum and sockeye salmon.
As Previously Announced:
Subsistence fishing with gillnets will continue to be closed on these portions of the Kuskokwim River and the following tributaries:
•The Kwethluk River drainage including its confluence with Kuskokuak Slough and downstream to ADF&G regulatory markers located at the downstream mouth of the slough.
•The Kasigluk and Kisaralik river drainages including Old Kuskokuak Slough to ADF&G regulatory markers at the confluence of Old Kuskokuak Slough with Kuskokuak Slough.
•The Tuluksak River drainage including its confluence with the Kuskokwim River and downstream approximately 1-mile to ADF&G regulatory markers.
•The Aniak River drainage to ADF&G regulatory markers at its confluence with the Kuskokwim River.
Subsistence fishing with the use of live release gear types such as hook and line, dip nets, fish wheels equipped with live boxes or chutes, and beach seines remains open until further notice. In Sections 1–4, any Chinook salmon caught with these gear types must be returned immediately to the water alive.
Subsistence fishing in Section 5 (mouth of the Holitna River to the headwaters of the Kuskokwim River) remains open to the use of 6-inch or less mesh gillnets not to exceed 25 fathoms in length until further notice.
Further announcements will be made from the Bethel Fish and Game office, on the State of Alaska web site (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=cfnews.main), and local radio stations. News releases will be faxed to area villages and local fish processing companies.
For additional information or questions regarding Kuskokwim Area fisheries, contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in the Bethel at 543-2433 or toll free at 1-855-933-2433.
This news release was issued on July 7, 2017.