Wow. This is interesting. Really?
Wow. This is interesting. Really?
When this first passed they decided to allow dipnets rather than stretching gill net across the river to protect rainbows, dollies and incidental catch...
What changed between then and now? King runs are much worse, and rainbows aren't that hot anymore either.
Gotta say, I hate the idea of Gill Net stretched across the Kenai. But that raises a huge question. How are they going to run gill net at river mile 48 or above during peak summer use? There are alot of boats moving through that area at that time. Maybe my knowledge of set net gear is too limited, but I don't think you can run over it with a motorized boat without hitting can you?
That is my understanding too. I thought the personal use dip net fishery was authorized in lieu of having a subsistence gill net fishery. But now, a gill net fishery has been approved. What does that mean for the dip nets? My sense is, nothing. It's too popular. As such, fishery management on the Kenai Rv just got more complicated, and more difficult to manage, particularly if stocks begin to decline to the point where conservation is a real concern.
Alot of folks on this BB would say the Kenai is already there.... Fair enough, but this action won't help.
You couldn't make this stuff up. What next.
Next, the N Tribe was ruled rural along with the other cities mentioned. They asked for a subsistence fishery in the Kenai and Kasilof. The State objected for the same reasons noted in the article. These reasons are bogus as hell. First, the sport fishery takes 300,000 sockeye and the chinook fishery was full out at the time of their request. I actually consulted with the Tribe on this one because the State and Federal positions were not defensible. They say they are worried about other species at the outlet of Skilak Lake and yet they have allowed a growing sport fishery in this area without any limitations on use patterns. When asked why not close the first four miles to everyone not just subsistence users the opportunity position reared its ugly head. They were not concerned about the resource they were concerned about opportunity. This really pissed the N Tribe off as they became second class citizens when the law clearly states they should be first. I proposed a compromise fishery that would take place in Skilak Lake for sockeye and the Tribe was agreeable but the State and Feds said no. In short, the first four miles at the outlet of Skilak Lake should be closed to all users as it is an important area. The Feds and the State have that option now - anyone want to bet on that happening. KAFC has asked over a year ago for this to happen but no action by the agencies. If they did their job and closed it then this discussion would be limited to downstream areas or in the Lake.
So in summary the State and Feds have created this mess over the years because they treat the laws and people who have a priority with disrespect and are unwilling to work with them in a cooperative manner. This has been typical of ADF&G for decades on subsistence issues on the Kenai and I think the N Tribe is fed up with it. So they pushed back.
That old saying " At first if you deceive what a tangled web you weave" applies here. So if anyone is upset they should be upset with the agencies for taking irrational positions to protect sport and commercial users over subsistence users. They pushed the K and N Tribes to lawsuits which makes it a conflict. When I worked with the Tribe they were willing to compromise but the agencies just held firm - just like now. So you reap what you sow.
Also the Bolt decision did not cause the demise of the salmon stocks in the PNW. In fact, a few papers indicate the Bolt decision brought money and effort to conserving stocks. The loss of resources was due to habitat damage by development.
Before folks hit the big red button, understand how diminutive a 10 fathom (60 ft) net actually is. It would have a hard time corking a medium trib. Also, successful setnets are often set in eddies and not in the run of the river so navigational issues would not be that great. Surely this will be contentious, but not on a biological level.
From the article,
"The council argued that the current dipnet, rod and reel, and fish wheel allowances are not sufficient for their subsistence needs. By statute, subsistence is to be given a higher consideration than other fisheries, and the council argued that not allowing the most effective means to fish salmon would break that promise."
The underlined section above is absolutely the most ridiculous non-conservation oriented statement I have heard in a long time. So we are going to let people fish with dynamite or dam the rivers up so they can go pick up fish from the river bed? Fisheries evolve as well as equipment. If there is a better way to fulfill your food requirements, perhaps they should consider that.
I believe in subsistence preference. But if that's the way this "user group" is going to treat the fish stocks, I am going to object and will be rethinking my stance at some point if this continues. Seriously, they can't come up with a better way of catching 4,000 reds???
Love the mixed metaphors! We need to jump off the cliff just to hit the big red button……
I fail to understand how the KP can be “rural”, for the purposes of establishing a subsistence preference. The Fred Meyer in Soldotna looks very much like the Fred Meyer around the corner from my house. So if the KP is rural, so is Vancouver, WA. Perhaps the vagaries of the “rural determination” in the law are to blame. Regardless, the residents of the KP have different means of obtaining sustenance from local merchants. Unlike, say, the residents of rural villages along the Yukon.
Nerka mentioned the Kenai Peninsula Tribes several times, but I thought the determining factor in subsistence preference was rural/non-rural. Tribal affiliation wasn’t (isn’t) part of the law. If that’s the case, the State would be less concerned about the Tribes, since they are likely fairly small in number compared to all other residents of the Kenai Peninsula. Giving the Tribe what they want would be easy. But giving everyone else the same thing would be a nightmare. So if they give the Tribes what they’re asking for, the State has no reason to do likewise for everyone else.
Up to this point, denial might have been the lesser of two difficult options.....
Nerka - Great post. Thanks for the info, although I'm not sure I understand all of it.
Why not allow these gillnets to be used in the ocean, like say right at the mouth of the river. How about one side is for personal use and subsistence dipnetting and the other for subsistence gill nets?
"The North wind is cold no matter what direction it's blowing"
Ocean gill netting has the same lethal issues though it might be "cleaner" in terms of bycatch...maybe. At least got "desirable" species.
Traditional means and methods...how do we define that? . I'd think the gear used today, even the nets are more effective than in the past. I'd be more for a manned fish wheel than gill nets for the lethality issues.
Maybe as the other posters have implied that i am over reacting. But gill nets in the river seems like a bad idea for any user group that has an interest in properly managing the resource.
My personal pages...I'm not a guide.
I said Tribes because they have the resources to push legal options. However, the rulings apply to all residents of the community. The State in contrast said that under the State Constitution one cannot separate on rural vs urban status. So under State subsistence laws I can travel to that Yukon village and catch fish under a subsistence permit if the fishery or hunt is on State lands. The State of Alaska did separate based on race with the educational fishery which I found crossed my line of being ethical.
Kardinal 84 -bit over the top. The context was talking about a gill net fishery not other means. I think you can see that from the rest of the article. Using your other methods just tries to make the Tribes look bad and they never have proposed anything like that and would not from my conversations with them.
Catch It - good points and having fished a set gill net in the Kenai and other large rivers there is no way it would hold or fish effectively. However, that is one reason for the slack water areas at the outlet of Skilak Lake. It is also why I suggested going into Skilak Lake. As sockeye come up out of the river they tend to move along the shore. The Lower Boat launch is a good access point and a single net is not going to hurt anything.
What the real issue here is people want to continue the anti-subsistence fight from 3 decades ago. That fight is over. The Katie John cases put the last nail in that coffin. What is needed is some well meaning people to sit down and respect each other and try to work out a good fishery. The Kasilof River fishery is not getting the level of distaste and that is because of fish allocation battles in the Kenai taint everything in this community.
I just tried to have a discussion with someone who called me stupid and other names because he was still stuck in the 80's relative to subsistence. Some of this is based on racial issues, some based on what is perceived as unfair, some based on allocation, and very little based on concern for the resource but that is the first reason used to do away with the fishery. When pushed on the lack of biological impact the other factors come out and they are ugly resulting in the you are a stupid ..... comment.
If it can be shown that this fishery has impacts at similar levels to other methods through proper placement, timing, mesh size etc then it would alleviate my concern.
Why not try tangle nets? Don't they use those effectively in Puget Sound? Perhaps not "traditional"? But then I'd suggest neither are the modern nets or outboards.
Perhaps I'm biased by the vision of the in river fisheries I've witnessed in the Bethel area. (I was a buyer so not blasting it.) To me that looked like a very efficient but indiscriminate method of take. It had to be carefully managed by time allowed. That looked more at the efficiency levels of explosives but maybe not like draining the river. Lol. So yah over the top examples maybe...but not by much. :-)
My personal pages...I'm not a guide.
The Ninilchik Traditional Council’s proposal adds a 10-fathomgillnet to the existing rod and reel, dipnet and fish wheel subsistence fisheries available on the river. The council argued that the current dipnet, rod and reel, and fish wheel allowances are not sufficient for their subsistence needs.
Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly
Any time you use the word "priority" you are discriminating. It gives rights and privileges to one group that is not available to all. If the Kenaitzes or any other tribe or group is allowed to net the river, I should be able to toss a similar net in there myself. But we all know where that would lead. Jail.
Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.
Having said that there were agreements when the Federal legislation was passed to get concessions from Native landowners. So a deal was struck. Some may not like it and I understand that but the fact is that battle is over.
The Bolt decision was referenced earlier. My dad hated the Bolt decision for the vary reason you state. He felt it was based on race and he fought against race based attitudes. Remember this was back in the late 50's early 60's. What my Dad failed to understand was that the deal between the Federal Gov and the Indian Tribes was made years ago. I would challenge him and say " Dad if you made a deal with me today where I gave you something and you were suppose to give me something in 30 years and that 30 years passed and you said no to the deal would you feel good about it?" I even went so far as saying we shook hands on it and for my dad that was huge. He would say they never should have made the deal but realized that was not a very rationale position. So we live with past decisions if they are legal and the federal subsistence priority has found to be legal. The State could create a rural priority but is taking the stand that is a bad deal. So we are in joint management for our resources. Pretty simple in concept very hard to implement and understand as time passes and historical knowledge is lost.
I honestly think they should shut that entire river down to anything for about 5 years since no one apparently can play well with others when it comes to this topic. Then you would all be thankful for what you've got when you are given access again.
He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It
But the Kenai river is over 50 miles from Ninilchik and the Kasilof river is over 30 miles away.
Why not allow them to set a net in the Ninilchik river? It's a lot closer and I guarantee traditionally the ninilchik residents 100+ years ago got more fish from it than they ever did the Kenai river.
Or what about allowing them a beach setnet fishery in Ninilchik itself?
Is it because the runs in the Kasilof and Kenai are much larger and it's that much easier to get their fish?
I do have serious issues on the whole rural preference thing and how it is delineated. But as Nerka said there is no changing that now.
I have been to the Kenaitze educational net and have fished it with my family several of whom are tribal members.
I wonder if they will set up similiar facilities in these other areas? They will need parking and fish cleaning tables etc. Maybe a shack with a vac sealer etcetera? A fire pit and all of that stuff?
I know the Kenaitze tribe tries to make it a family event with story telling and learning some traditional values.You must sign up in advance and show up three hours in advance of your tide or you loose your rights to the net that day and must sign up again for another open day.
Hopefully these other places do the same. I would hate to see it turn into a commercialesq fishery where member show up and get their fish that were in the net then leave right away while the next group pulls up and does the same.
Also I know the Kenaite permit got cut back last year from two nets to one when the king season closed.
Hopefully these other nets will be managed accordingly to protect other fish species if neccessary.
"The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"
"Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"
Come on...a gillnet in the upper river? Stop the bickering. It's ridiculous no matter what the justification.