Thursday, January 7, 2010

A setback for Chitina salmon dipnetters

Looks like a Fairbanks judge has declared the Alaska Board of Fisheries the winner, for the most part, in a lawsuit challenging the board's denial of subsistence status for the Chitina dipnet fishery.

Here's the 35-page ruling.

The popular dipnet fishery, of course, is upstream of the famed Copper River commercial salmon fishery.

While siding with the defendants on most counts, the judge is requiring a bit more work of the board. One assignment: define the term "subsistence way of life."

Oh, that should be a snap, right?


Anonymous said...

I always find this conflict interesting. Isn't a fairly high percentage of the fish caught by the dipnetters produced by the Gulkana hatchery (PWSAC)? I am just speculating on the percentage, does anyone know? The interesting part is the Gulkana fish under the management of PWSAC are funded by taxing the commercial fleet.

Anonymous said...

Isn't a fairly high percentage of the fish caught by the "subsistence" fishers in Cordova and Glennallen also produced by the Gulkana hatchery?

Just like there to be consistency when we have "interesting" questions...

Anonymous said...

The hatchery is funded by cost recovery harvesting of fish by the PNP operator, not by taxing fishermen. The taxes fishers pay goes for ASMI promotions, product branding and raw fish taxes paid back to local communities. They are considered common property.

Anonymous said...

Fisherman are chargesd a 2% off the gross aquaculture assesment of of every fish they catch . On top of that an additional 1% is take for marketing .Fisherman started the Hatchery and have provided the means for these Hatcheries existance .The previous poster does not have the correct information

Anonymous said...

Commercial fisherman based out of Cordova paid over a million dollars in aquaculture assesment in 2009 . I find it Ironic that someone who does not pay aquaculture assesment would try to shut us down so they could catch Gulkana Hatchery fish. Another point is that conservation of the run is a duty of all users , not just the commercial guys.

Anonymous said...

About 25% of the annual commercial harvest of sockeyes are Gulkana hatchery produced.

The State of Alaska financed and constructed the Gulkana hatchery in 1973, not fishermen. (Question to commenter #4: Do you care about facts, or do you just like to make things up?)

Hatchery fish are common property, belonging to the State of Alaska --they are not owned or otherwise the property of: the commercial fishing fleet, subsistence users, personal-use fishers, or sportfishers -- it is only after the fish is harvested and in possession of the fisher does it no longer belong to the state.

Philip Munger said...

PWSAC was started to help remedy the devastation to Pink stocks especially, caused by the Good Friday earthquake's uplift, notably in SW PWS, where some creek mouths were uplifted about 20 to 20 feet, all but killing off some hefty runs. That's part of why the first hatchery went in on Evans Island.

PWSAC is an example of how Alaskans can tax themselves into a better future. I'm proud to have been in Cordova and a member of CAMA and CDFQ when it was formed.

The Gulkana Hatchery isn't PWSAC.

Wes' headline is surprisingly misleading. I believe the Chitina dipnetters association do not consider the judge's opinion to have been a headline-level setback.

Anonymous said...

Gulkana isn't PWSAC? Go to
Gulkana hatchery is listed as a PWSAC hatchery. Does PWSAC have it wrong?

Anonymous said...

On average from 1999-2008 Gulkana Hatchery sockeye contributed to approximately 15% of the Chitina subdistrict harvest, 15% of the Glennallen Subdistrict harvest and 19% of the commercial gillnet harvest.

Gulkana Hatchery was originally constructed and operated by the State of Alaska. PWSAC took over operations of the facility in the early 1990's and has made several improvements to the facility in that time.

PWSAC hatcheries are funded by a combination of cost recovery sales and the 2% enhancement tax commercial fishers voted onto themselves.

The issue at hand has nothing to do with where the sockeye come from. Escapement goals and management of the fisheries are based on wild stocks. The issue is wheather the Chitina Subdistrict should be classified as subsistence (priority over commercial and sport fisheries) or personal use (priority the same as commercial and sport fisheries).

Philip Munger said...

anon @ 8:23 am - interesting. Thanks for correcting my assumption re the Gulkana hatchery.