Federal Subsistence Board rejects proposed Kuskokwim Emergency Special Action

The Federal Subsistence Board (Board) held a work session on July 17-18, 2017. During the July 17 portion of the meeting in Anchorage, the Board approved, with minor modifications, Regional Advisory Council Annual Report Replies, and accepted revisions to United States and Canada border river delegated authority letters to in-season managers that address subsistence fishing closures for treaty obligations.

The Board heard presentations on the Federal Subsistence Management Program’s budget, and a proposed hunter ethics education program for the Eastern Interior Region. Additionally, during a closed executive session, the Board discussed Regional Advisory Council nominations and recommendations to the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture for their appointments.

The Board discussed and rejected Emergency Special Action Request FSA17-05, which requested that the Board take three actions: (1) rescind the in-season fisheries management authority of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) Manager for the remainder of the 2017 fishing season; (2) close Refuge waters of the Kuskokwim River mainstem and salmon-bearing tributaries to the harvest of Chinook Salmon as necessary to ensure healthy populations and the viability of Chinook Salmon populations in the Kuskokwim River drainage; and (3) close Refuge waters to the harvest of Coho Salmon except by Federally qualified subsistence users to ensure the continuation of subsistence uses of Coho Salmon.

In rejecting FSA17-05, the Board emphasized its continued support for the collaborative Federal subsistence in-season management process that has been carried out on the Kuskokwim River to date.

Refuge waters of the Kuskokwim River mainstem will remain open to the harvest of all salmon for all consumptive uses under current State regulations. Fishing with gillnets will remain closed on salmonbearing tributaries specified in Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s Emergency Order 3-S-WR-01-17.

On July 18, the Board visited the Kenai River community gillnet fishery established for residents of Ninilchik to observe and discuss issues with fishers and managers.

Additional information on the Federal Subsistence Management Program may be found on the web at www.doi.gov/subsistence or by visiting www.facebook.com/subsistencealaska.

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