Due to poor sockeye returns, today, June 12, marks 14 days since the Copper River commercial fleet has had an opening. In past years, this circumstance would have invoked a regulation automatically decreasing the Copper River personal use (ie dipnetter) allocation from 100-150 thousand sockeyes to 50,000 sockeyes for the remainder of the season. But not this year or any other! The Chitina Dipnetters Association submitted a proposal to the Alaska Board of Fisheries rescinding that regulation. The BoF considered that proposal at their December, 2017, meeing in Valdez. CDA President Chuck Derrick and VP Paul Harrell attended the BOF meeting to walk our proposal through the process and argue against competing interests. Ultimately, Chuck and Paul successfully convinced the Board of Fish that our proposal stood on its merits, rescinding the 50,000 re-allocation rule.
In times of plenty, the 50,000 reallocation rule isn't an issue. In times of scarcity or, more importantly, a late run when fish are aplenty and escapement goals are met, personal use dipnetters were unfairly shouldering a burden. As of today, 2018 is not shaping up to be a good year for Copper River sockeyes, to the detriment of the commercial fleet, subsistence fishers and dipnetters. Under the old rules, if a booming late run of reds materialize, dipnetters would have been automatically restricted to a 50,000 fish allocation this year. Under the new rules, thanks to the CDA's accepted proposal, dipnetters can continue fishing under our 100,00-150,000 allocation instead of being artificially restricted because of a slow start for the commercial fleet.
CDA fully supports the ADF&G's work to maintain and build the Copper River sockeye and chinook runs. We are not pushing to over-harvest the resource or to threaten future year returns. We only push to ensure the 10,000 registered Chitina personal use dipnetters have their fair shot at accessing the State of Alaska's salmon resource.
If our work protecting and developing your access to the Chitina dipnet fishery is important to you, please consider becoming an annual member and/or purchasing CDA merchandise. Of the nearly 10,000 Chitina dipnet permits issued last year, we had only 300ish members, or 3% of the you! Your membership dues pay for us to send representatives to the Board of Fish meetings and work on other projects. Your membership itself provides us a political voice in Juneau and other venues - the more voices behind us the more powerful our message! Once again, we're offering "door prizes" for all current new or renewing members - the prize list is on our home page! Instead of a single large prize, we've put up a few smaller prizes. Grand prize is a 45/70 guide gun! Thank you for your current and future support!