As spring fast approaches Chitina Dipnetters Association (CDA) dealings with Chitina dipnetting business and issues increases ten fold. Of the most pressing is the March 10-13 Statewide Finfish Meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) to be held in Anchorage. The board will consider five proposals establishing new statewide regulations dealing with personal use fisheries, which will include both the Chitina and Kenai Penninsula dipnet fisheries. All these proposals were submitted by commercial <!--break-->fishermen and seek to place new restrictions on those fisheries. These proposals are numbers 163-164 and 166-167; all are opposed by CDA. Also, for those who partake in subsistence dipnetting, you may want to look at proposal 165.
The Kenai River Sports Fishing Association (KRSA), which has always been very supportive of sport and personal use fisheries and been of great help to me in past BOF meetings, has put together a page simplifying the public comment procedure for voicing your opposition to these proposals. As a member of CDA, I would like you to take this opportunity to add your voice to the opposition. KRSA's page gives a link to the actual proposals and some sample wordage to use with an easy COMMENT BUTTON to get you started. The deadline is fast approaching for comment submissions: 11:59pm, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023.
The Proposal Book and Online Comment Form are available at the State of Alaska's Board of Fisheries Meeting Information page for those people wanting to go straight to the source.
Proposal 163 seeks to eliminate guiding in personal use finfish fisheries. Remember that access to the Copper River for dipnetting, whether on land or by boat is very limited, especially on the east side. To lose the guided services in our fishery would mean many dipnetters, who do not posses the means to access the fishery on their own, will find it hard or impossible to continue dipnetting.
Proposal 164 would establish registration and reporting requirements for commercial guiding operations in personal use fisheries. This will only add to the cost of chartering guided fishing trips.
Proposal 166 would establish a statewide annual dipnet bag limit. CDA fought hard to get the Chitina Personal Use Dipnet bag limit to where it is today, with the number of salmon allowed in your bag limit reflecting the size of your family. The larger the family, the more fish allowed. Don't let the commercial fishermen take this away.
Proposal 167 would require dipnetters to report their harvest within 5 days of taking. Similar proposals have appeared in at least the last 3 BOF meetings dealing with Copper River finfish. The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game has consistently opposed these proposals reminding the BOF that the Chitina P.U. dipnet fishery is managed by actual sonar counts and that in-season harvest data would be of little value in managing the fishery.
Please let your voice be heard.