Commercial fishermen on the Kuskokwim River had another chance to cast their nets on Friday -- but not without upsetting several subsistence users in the area.
It was the second chance commercial fishermen on the river had to target chum salmon and bring home a paycheck, but some others would prefer those fish made it up river.
Earlier in the week, the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management working group voted against the state's recommendation to open the river. Members point to harvest reports that show many people, especially in the middle river, feel their subsistence needs have not been met.
“To usurp those reds and chums with a commercial opening at the lower part of the river, to the detriment to the people in the middle river and the headwaters, is very unfair for subsistence harvesters,” said working group member Mary Sattler.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game says the decision to open the river to commercial fishermen is based on a surplus of chums, as well as indications that people are waiting to target silver salmon.
“There is a harvestable surplus that we've identified this year so far. We are seeing reasonable numbers at our escapement projects,” said Aaron Poetter, Fish and Game's Kuskokwim area management biologist.
A special action limiting subsistence harvest of Chinook on the river to federally qualified users expired at midnight Friday.