Federal Subsistence Board OKs year-round sockeye fishing in Klawock River

Posted: Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Federal Subsistence Board met over four days in Anchorage last week to take action on proposed changes to federal subsistence fishing programs, some of which applied to Southeast Alaska.

The board adopted a proposition to extend sockeye salmon fishing times in the Klawock River, according to Andrea Medeiros, publications specialist for the Office of Subsistence Management. However, rather than extending the end time from July 31 to Aug. 15, the board decided to remove the defined season and schedule for subsistence fishing altogether, a recommendation made by the Southeast Regional Advisory Council.

“So basically it will be year-round sockeye fishing,” Medeiros said, noting this only applies to the Klawock River and lake.

This takes effect April 1.

The board rejected a “No Federal Subsistence Priority” customary and traditional use determination proposal by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game that would apply to fish in the Juneau road system area. Medeiros said if it had passed, this would mean federally qualified subsistence users wouldn’t be able to fish in federal waters in the Juneau road system area.

This proposal originally went before the board in January 2009, but was deferred at that time for further analysis.

Two proposals for Southeast were deferred until further meetings. One was to close sections 1C and 1D of the Unuk River to eulachon fishing due to population issues. The matter was deferred so more research could be conducted, and more input gathered from the affected groups.

The other deferred proposal was to close federal public waters to harvesting herring and herring spawn at Makhnati Island near Sitka. Medeiros said this closure would not include federally-qualified subsistence users.

This deferral is not to exceed two years.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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