2020 Orutsararmiut Traditional Native Council (ONC) Fisheries Program Updates

by ONC Staff

Bethel Subsistence Harvest Surveys

ONC will continue to conduct surveys at Bethel area fish camps from the top end of Church Slough to just below the mouth of Oscarville Slough. Our project objectives are the following:

1. Describe Bethel area subsistence users’ annual harvest goals for King, chum and sockeye salmon, determine the relative change in harvest goals compared to the prior year, and monitor weekly progress towards achieving annual harvest goals.

2. Document subsistence fishing activity in the Bethel area, including: when families begin subsistence fishing, weekly participation, catch per unit effort by gear type, and catch composition.

3. Estimate the annual age-sex-length (ASL) composition of King salmon harvested in the Bethel area subsistence fishery.

This project also aims to elevate the voices of local fishers and their concerns and comments regarding the health and management of our fisheries. We hope to maintain two-way communication where fishers and our staff are regularly exchanging information with each other. We will produce weekly reports for the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group (KRSMWG) from June 1-July 13. Anonymity of all project participants will be maintained for all project participants.

King Salmon ASL Sampling Program

We will recruit local fishers to sample their King salmon harvest this summer. All samplers will be paid $5.00 per King salmon they sample. Fishers are only required to remove 3 scales and document the length and sex of the fish along with some other fishing information. This information is important for understanding trends in the size, age and length of King salmon returning to the Kuskokwim and for management needs.

This year, we will not host any large public trainings due to the COVID-19 concerns, but are excited and willing to offer one-on-one trainings or trainings to members within the same household (not exceeding 3 individuals) in the ONC conference room. We hope to recruit up to 50 samplers with an overall sample size goal of 1,500 samples this season.


Otolith Sampling & Fish Distribution

This year, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADFG) will begin Bethel test fishery operations on June 1, 2020. We will receive all catches that are unable to be released live. Our fisheries crew will remove the otolith (ear stone) from the King salmon. Scientists will analyze otoliths to determine how salmon productivity changes in different parts of the Kuskokwim watershed year to year. The Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge will collect eggs from 50 female King salmon to better understand how body size relates to the number of eggs in each female King salmon. All salmon received from ADF&G will be distributed to local area Elders, the disabled, and widows.

CALL 907-545-2005 OR EMAIL [email protected] TO SIGN UP TO RECEIVE FISH THIS YEAR.

Please direct any questions or concerns regarding the above information to ONC Biologist, Janessa Esquible-Hussion at 907-543-0523.