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The commercial manager for The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has once again turned the Cook Inlet Commercial Drift Gillnet Fleet loose to scoop up all available fish in the Central District of Cook Inlet. They do this because they don’t want to allow “too many sockeye salmon to escape up the Kenai River”. They believe this would “damage the sockeye run”. So they give the commercial drift gillnet fleet extra openers plus they allow them fish inlet wide in the Central District.
When this happens the fleet scoops up thousands of northern bound silver salmon in their nets. For instance, last Monday on 7-31-2017, they netted over 39,000 silver salmon while claiming to be saving the Kenai River from over escapement. They were allowed to fish area wide on that day which means they blocked off nearly the entire Cook Inlet with their nets. When this happens during the two weeks when most of the northern Cook Inlet bound coho salmon are migrating, it is devastating to our fishing and local economy. This will continue every day unless we act now and collectively tell them to stop.
Because of this tragic mismanagement, silver salmon returns to popular northern Cook Inlet fishing spots like Ship Creek, Little Susitna River, Jim Creek, Deshka River, Willow Creek, Sheep Creek, Montana Creek, Talkeetna River, Clear Creek and many other upper Cook Inlet fisheries are in danger of crashing. These are some of the most popular fishing spots in Alaska for locals and visitors alike. It is a shame that we don’t manage them better.
A plan was put in place to keep this from happening which was designed to manage the Kenai River sockeye escapement and allow northern bound cohos to pass through. The Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan was put in place to ensure “adequate escapement of salmon into the Northern District drainages, and to provide management guidelines to the department.”
They could easily catch Kenai River bound sockeye salmon AND avoid the intercept of northern bound silver salmon if they chose to follow this plan and move the driftnet fleet to the the expanded Kenai, expanded Kasilof, and Anchor Point sections (side of Cook Inlet where they know those sockeye are heading). However they refuse to follow these regulations and continually make excuses why they need to fish inlet wide in the Central District.
WE MUST ACT NOW TO SAVE THIS YEAR’S SILVER SALMON RUN
WE MUST TELL THEM TO STOP THIS MISMANAGEMENT NOW!
ACT NOW AND VOICE YOUR OPINION
Please use this simple form to express your concern and make a difference for upper Cook Inlet silver salmon fishing. Ask them to stop inlet wide drift gillnet fishing in the Central District and follow the intent of The Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan.
When you send this form it will be copied to:
– Scott Kelly, Director of Division of Commercial Fisheries
– Sam Cotten, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner
– Tom Brookover, Director of Sport Fisheries
– Mark Neuman, Senator
– Shelley Hughes, Senator
– Mike Dunleavy, Senator
I am an Alaskan who is concerned about the mismanagement of northern Cook Inlet fisheries
- Thank you for you response and immediate action to protect northern district coho returns for the 2017 season.
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