ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Thursday the Alaska Board of Fisheries voted to create a new personal use fishery allowing Alaska residents to use dipnets to harvest four species of salmon on the Susitna River.
The proposal the board passed allows for dipnetters to fish the specified area from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays from July 10 through July 31.
There area is from the ADF&G marker approximately one mile below Susitna Station downstream to the ADF&G markers near northern tip of the Bell Island/ Alexander Creek cutoff. It’s a remote area off the road system which is approximately an hour’s boat ride from Deshka Landing.
King salmon cannot be kept. An amendment to prohibit keeping sockeye was proposed, but voted down by the board. Earlier this week the board voted to de-list Susitna River sockeye as a stock of yield concern.
“We heard plenty of discussion on people were open to this concept, for it, but being very conservative. And this was my thoughts on how to be very conservative but to provide additional opportunity,” board member Israel Peyton said. “The reason I’m against the amendment is people are going to keep those fish and they will get tickets for it. I can identify fish pretty well on a bank or in a fish wheel or in my hand, but floating downriver in a boat with a dipnet and the bonker comes out, a nice big 10 lbs chrome chum is going to look very similar to nice 8 lbs chrome sockeye. You’re going to make a lot of people in violation. I think this system can harvest a minute amount of sockeye. Time and area is how we do it. Six days a month, six days for the entire year is what it is, and I think it’s sustainable.”
Board member John Wood voted against the proposal because the amendment prohibiting sockeye retention was struck. Gerad Godfrey also voted against the proposal.
“There was some mixed feelings about it. We certainly do not want to over harvest sockeye in particular, for years have been a stock of concern, but it seems like a very conservative option going forward,” Andy Couch, a guide in the MatSu valley said. “Seems like a reasonable option to allow some harvest by residents of the area, Alaska residents.”
You can read the full language of the proposal approved here.
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