NEWS: Rep. Gara Wants Fairness for Kenai River Dipnetters

NEWS: Rep. Gara Wants Fairness for Kenai River Dipnetters

Rep. Gara Urges Additional Public Comments to Ensure Continued Access to Kenai River Salmon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2017

Juneau – For the past three years, Alaskans who rely on dipnetting sockeye salmon from the Kenai River have been blocked from fishing after July 31st, which denies them a fair chance at catching their limit of fish.  The sockeye salmon runs have been arriving later in the season, which results in a substantial part of the Kenai River run entering the river after the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has closed the dipnet fishery. At the same time, commercial fishermen have been allowed to take advantage of continued strong returns well into August.

“We all know that the sockeye runs into the Kenai River are coming in later,” said Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage).  “The commercial fishing industry is important, but it is wrong to block individual Alaskans from dipnet fishing while commercial fishing is extended to August when the runs are strong.”  

Rep. Gara has submitted comments to the Alaska Board of Fisheries supporting proposals to protect the Kenai River sockeye and silver runs while still allowing dipnet fishing to remain open into August.  Rep. Gara was clear in his comment that any extension should end if it endangers the fall silver salmon run, which is the current rule for commercial sockeye fishing. 

“The Alaska Department of Fish and Game allows August fishing by commercial fishermen as long as it does not endanger the sockeye or silver runs,” said Rep. Gara.  “I believe the department should allow the same opportunity to the more than 600,000 Alaskans that do not own commercial fishing vessels or permits.”

Rep. Gara is encouraging Alaskans to send comments the Alaska Board of Fisheries about the dipnetting timing issue in advance of the Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting that will be held in Anchorage from February 23rd to March 8th.  On-time written comments are due by February 9th.  In person public comments will be accepted during the first two days of the meeting.  For more information about how to provide public comments call (907) 465-4110.

The Alaska Outdoor Council has submitted a proposal to extend the dipnet fishery, as has one individual Alaskan. The Outdoor Council can be contacted at (907) 264-6645.   

For more information, contact Rep. Les Gara (907) 250-0106.

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Rep. LES GARA

Finance Vice-Chair

Toll-Free +1 800 465-2647

STAFF:
Molly Carver
Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 269-0106
Molly.Carver@akleg.gov
Laura Chartier
Legislative Aide
+1 (907) 465-2647
Laura.Chartier@akleg.gov

Capitol: January-April

Address: Room 515 Capitol Bldg.
                 Juneau, AK, 99801
Phone: +1 907 465-2647
FAX: +1 907 465-3518
Email: rep.les.gara@akleg.gov

Anchorage: May-December

Address: 1500 W Benson Blvd, Rm 216
                 Anchorage AK, 99503
Phone: +1 907 269-0106
FAX: +1 907 269-0109
Email: rep.les.gara@akleg.gov