The sun is rising earlier, and setting later each day. The birds are singing about spring, and before we know it, bits of green will be sprouting everywhere and yes! – the fish will return.
And when they do return, what will happen? Will there be plenty of subsistence opportunity? Will their be restrictions on the type of gear you can use? Will escapement goals be met?……..Will there be enough fish?
These are questions that you can discuss during several meetings to be held next week in Bethel. Use these groups and make your voices heard!
KRITFC Meeting: March 28-29
The first meeting is of the Kuskokwim River Inter Tribal Fisheries Commission (KRITFC). It will be held at the Cultural Center in Bethel on March 28-29. The KRITFC is the group that formed in the spring of 2015, for the very purpose of having full participatory governance that determine the harvest of the Kuskokwim’s salmon resources – Tribal, State & Federal governments, all at the same table. All with an equal voice.
The KRITFC has Commissioners from thirty three villages, representing seven districts on the Kuskokwim. This meeting will welcome all Commissioners plus interested members of the public. If you cannot attend this meeting, please make sure to call you Commissioner sometime before these meetings, and let them know what concerns or thoughts you may have about the upcoming season, so that they can be represent you and your ideas.
If you aren’t sure who your Commissioner is, contact LaMont Albertson, the KRITFC Interim Director.
KRSMWG Meeting: March 30-31
The second opportunity will be at the Spring meeting of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group. The meeting will be on March 30 & 31, 2017 from 9:00am-5:00pm each day, also at the Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center in Bethel, AK.
This meeting will be conducted in person and via teleconference:
1-800-315-6338 (MEET) Code: 58756# (KUSKO).
This Working Group was formed in 1988 by the Alaska Board of Fish, in response to requests from stakeholders in the Kuskokwim Area who sought a more active role in the management of salmon fishery resources. It is a State of Alaska inseason advisory group made up of 13 member seats representing elders, subsistence fishermen, processors, commercial fishermen, sport fishermen, member at large, federal subsistence regional advisory committees, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Up For Discussion: The 2017 Kuskokwim River Chinook Salmon Forecast and Associated Management Actions
The 2017 Kuskokwim River Chinook salmon forecast is for a range of 132,000–222,000 fish. The drainage-wide Chinook salmon escapement goal is 65,000–120,000. Average subsistence Chinook salmon harvest is 84,000. If the run comes back within the forecast range, then there may be enough Chinook salmon to provide for escapement and subsistence needs.
Kuskokwim River Management Strategy
The department intends to provide more directed Chinook salmon subsistence harvest opportunity than in recent years. Management actions that may be in place during the 2017 subsistence fishing season include, but are not limited to:
· Early season Chinook salmon subsistence fishery closure;
· Gillnet mesh size and length restrictions;
· Tributary closures;
· Live release of Chinook salmon from dip nets, fish wheels, seines etc.;
· Time and area restrictions and;
· Subsistence hook and line bag and possession limits.
If you are a Georgetown member, and have concerns you’d like our Commissioner to voice, Contact Jonathan Samuelson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907-274-2195.