This member email is long overdue and I apologize for that. The year 2020 has been one that most of us are probably glad is coming to a close. What with Covid 19 and all the procedures to deal with it and the contentious political elections, the poor 2020 run of sockeye salmon in the Copper River only added to the negative column. I hope you were lucky, like I was, and timed your dipnetting trip to Chitina when there were enough salmon in the river to fill your limit.
The Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting dealing with Prince William Sound/Copper River fin fish was scheduled to take place in Cordova on Dec. 11-17. The Chitina Dipnetters Association (CDA) had planned to send two board members in support of Chitina dipnetters, but the meeting was canceled. Boards support requested comments from interested parties concerning new timing of delayed Board of Fish (BOF)and Board of Game meetings. We were asked to choose among several options including “keep original date of meeting”, “delay till sometime in spring 2021”, or “have those 2020 meetings at their original dates, only moved to 2021”. The latter option would push future 2021 meetings to 2022, 2022 TO 2023 and so on. We suggested moving everything to the same date in 2021. This would delay the December PWS/CR fin fish meeting till December 2021. The BOF decided to reschedule the PWS/CR finfish for March 2021 if the Covid 19 pandemic was by then under control. Commercial fishermen for the most part were unhappy with this change citing that this was the time of year they are prepping for the upcoming season. At this point, it looks like a stretch to get everyone vaccinated and the virus under control in that time frame. My guess is the PWS/CR meeting will be in December 2021. Be assured that when ever the meeting takes place, CDA will be there to represent Chitina dipnetting interests.
Even though the PWS/CR fin fish meeting is delayed, the time period for commenting on submitted regulation change proposals, is open (no dead line yet). I drafted comments on proposals of interest to the Chitina Dipnetters Association and the dip net fishery as a whole. The CDA board approved my comments and they were submitted to Alaska Boards support. I have attached CDA's comments below. You can view the full text of the PWS/CR fin fish submitted proposals by visiting the Alaska Board of Fisheries website (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.proposalbook). Please review CDA's comments in the attachment below and submit your own comments to support ours by clicking “submit comments” on BOF website front page.
In April 2020 Governor Dunleavy made his appointments to the Board of Fisheries. Re-appointed was John Jensen. New appointments were Abe Williams, John Wood and McKenzie Mitchell. These additions should make for a well rounded and hopefully fair Board of Fisheries. Because of the pandemic, the joint bodies of the legislature were unable to hold confirmation hearings for any state boards or commissions. The legislature passed a bill saying that if appointees were not confirmed by July 1, 2020 then the governors appointments fail and cannot be reappointed for one year. The attorney general disagreed and Dunleavys' appointees were seated until confirmation can take place. The legislature filed suit and that is where things remain as of this email.
On a much brighter note, DOT Tazlina station informed CDA that they were able to complete the opening and widening of the canyon trail between O'brien and Haley creeks by the end of October. All landslides were cleared and, if no new slides occur this spring, the trail should be in great shape for the 2021 dip net season.
The forecast for the 2021 Copper River salmon run is not out yet, but preliminary data indicates lower than average sockeye and chinook numbers for the Copper. I hope this is not the case, but if so it means reduced fishing time in the dipnet fishery.
Whether we have a CDA annual membership meeting in May 2021 will depend on the progression of getting the pandemic under control. The CDA board will make that decision as May draws nearer and I will inform the membership.
2021 CDA $20 annual membership fee will be due starting January 1, 2021. You can re-up your membership at chitinadipnetters.com or mail in your payment to
Chitina Dipnetters Association
Fairbanks, AK 99707
While you are at our website, browse our CDA store for great CDA apparel.
Thank you for your membership and support of CDA.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Chuck Derrick, president