Chinook

by Ben Matheson, KYUK

Federal staff will again manage king salmon on the lower Kuskokwim River after requests from tribes. Earlier this year, a handful of tribal governments asked the federal subsistence board to implement federal management. The Federal Subsistence Board deferred last month, but at a Friday meeting of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working group, US Fish and Wildlife Service leaders announced a plan for federal management.

Today [Tuesday], the Alaska Court of Appeals in Anchorage will hear arguments about whether fishermen who fished during a closure were wrongfully convicted. In the summer of 2012, the number of Chinook, or king salmon, returning to the lower Kuskokwim River to spawn was low. Fishing for kings is integral to Yup'ik spirituality, however, so dozens of people fished in defiance of an emergency closure. Many were arrested, and thirteenĀ decided to appeal their convictions.

Enough king salmon have gone upriver to spawn so state biologists opened the lower Kuskokwim salmon fishery on Friday; it had been closed since May 20.

A trial is scheduled for next month in a case alleging failure by the state to provide accurate translations of voting materials into Alaska Native languages.

A short subsistence opening is scheduled for the Kuskokwim River, where returns of spawning king salmon was the lowest on record last year.

Likewise on the Yukon River, returns are expected to be even lower than last year, which were the lowest on record. Commercial, sport, and subsistence fisheries on theĀ entire Yukon River drainage area will be closed.