Written by Jen Finn
BETHEL, Alaska — More than a few people out here in the windswept, far Western corner of the state wanted the trials last week of Kuskokwim River fishermen to be a moratorium on the bycatch of Chinook salmon even farther west in the Bering Sea.
There is no arguing the fact that some Kuskokwim kings, as they are often called in Alaska, end up dead in the nets of the $1 billion dollar trawl fishery that operates far away and out of sight over the horizon. The $1 billion question is how many.
Myron Naneng is president of the Association of Village Council Presidents, a political power in this region. The way he sees it, "the trawlers and managers of salmon have tried to minimize the impacts by saying only a certain percentage goes into this river or this stream.
"(But) since about 68 percent of their Chinook salmon are bound for the river systems in Western Alaska, why can't the bycatch -- if it numbers 50,000 or even 20,000 -- be reduced by 68 percent to allow for salmon to return to the river systems?
"Kuskokwim River is not the only river that is of a concern. Yukon River, Unalakleet (River) are having issues, too. We are not only looking at one river. But, the trials have brought forward this picture that no one was even considering to look at.
"Otherwise, as it is the standard operating procedure of the state of Alaska, let the river systems users continue to bear the burden of conservation."
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...