Two leading Alaska Native tribal organizations on Wednesday petitioned the federal government to dramatically lower the cap on the number of king salmon that Bering Sea commercial fishermen can harvest as bycatch in order to protect the fish.


The Association of Village Council Presidents and the Tanana Chiefs Conference filed their petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce secretary and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for an emergency cap they say is needed to avoid substantial harm to the kings, or chinook salmon, and to communities up and down the Kuskokwim and Yukon rivers, the two biggest in Alaska.


The tribal groups want the government to lower the hard cap on the accidental catch of kings during the lucrative Bering Sea pollock fishery from 60,000 to 20,000 a year. There’s a lower bycatch number that triggers tighter monitoring, and the groups also want to see it dropped, from 47,591 to 15,000.


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