January 13, 2014
Too many Kenai River dip-netters are slobs, pigs, miscreants, call them what you want. There is no debating this. The evidence is obvious to anyone who visits the mouth of the river during the dip netting season in July.
And many in the community of Kenai are once more upset.
When the Kenai City Council held a hearing to discuss the dip net fishery at the start of the month, "a parade of concerned citizens spoke on what issues need to be addressed," reported the Peninsula Clarion, the local newspaper for the Kenai-Soldotna area.
The usual complaints were heard: Dip-netters litter, leave human waste on the beach, drive their boats like lunatics upriver from the mouth where dip netting is legal from boats, and seemingly worst of all, catch more fish than the limit allows.
Or, in the case of nonresidents, catch fish they are not allowed. By law, personal-use dip netting is limited to Alaska residents. It's the urban Alaska form of what is elsewhere in the state called "subsistence fishing."
The only difference here is that the drying-rack-loading and freezer-filling subsistence fisheries get a priority over commercial fishing while the personal-use fisheries don't.