Chitina Dipnetter Association Members:
It's the end of March, snow is starting to melt off the roof and off my dipnets hanging on the outside wall of my shop. I passed by them today and the nets reminded me that it is time to send out an information email to CDA members.
Paul Harrell, CDA Vice-President, and I attended the December 1-5 Copper River/Prince William Sound Board of Fisheries (BOF) meeting in Valdez. We were able to convince the BOF to rescind a regulation that has been on the books since 1997. That regulation reduced the annual Copper River Personal Use Dip net Fishery (CPUDF) allocation from 100,000-150,000 to 50,000 if the Copper River District commercial fleet is ever prohibited from fishing for 13 or more consecutive days. That is as much as a permanent two thirds allocation reduction for a potentially short term commercial problem. CDA has been attempting to overturn this rule since its inception in 1997 and were finally successful.
Dipnet Fee Results
CDA, in 2016, pushed for a $15 Chitina dipnet permit fee that was approved by the State Legislator to begin in 2017. Collected funds are earmarked for use in the Chitina dipnet fishery. To ensure proper use of the money, CDA met with Tim Viavant of the ADF&G Sport Fish division and Jason Sakalaskis of DOT on February 20 to discuss the expenditure of the 2017 Chitina Dip Net Permit Fees. Somewhat over 9,500 CPUDF permits were issued for the 2017 season, generating $142,500 in receipts. $7500 went to vendor fees (businesses that issue permits). DOT spent $48,750 to cover the 2017 garbage and toilet contract (referred to as the DOT wayside maintenance contract) and $34,000 on time and equipment for the O'Brien to Haley Creek trail reconstruction project this fall. Trail work included brushing and debris removal from O'Brien Creek to mile 4.5. Money remaining from the 2017 permit receipts are to be rolled over to 2018 and made available to DOT. Prior to the opening of the 2018 CPUDF season, DOT plans to extend their trail reconstruction work to mile 5.1, an area requiring mechanical brushing and excavator work. DOT is shooting for a trail wide enough to pass two side by side ATVs. As we had hoped, the $15 dipnet fee advocated for by the CDA is leading to a safe, usable trail to Haley Creek.
Board of Fish nomination
Governor Bill Walker recently nominated Duncan Fields, a Kodiak commercial fisherman, to replace retiring Al Cain, an Anchorage area sport/personal use representative, on the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Filling the seat of a sport representative with a commercial fisherman destroys the existing balance of the board (3 commercial, 3 sport/p.u. and 1 subsistence). The Chitina Dipnetters Association, in conjunction with 15 other concerned groups, became signatory on a letter asking the Legislature to not confirm Mr. Duncan. CDA also sent a letter to the Interior delegation requesting non-confirmation. Hopefully enough pressure is applied and Governor Walker will pull the nomination of Mr. Fields and nominate someone better representative of the sport and personal use fisheries of Alaska. We will keep you posted!
Update March 29
-Duncan Fields has at this time withdrawn his name from consideration. Alan Cain has agreed to serve another term on the BOF thus preserving a balance on the board. Public pressure does work!
Copper River salmon forecast
ADF&G has issued a 2018 forecast for the Copper River of 43,000 Chinook salmon and 1.5 million sockeyes. If the chinook numbers hold to forecast, there should be no king restriction for CPUDF users this year. Sockeye numbers are forecast about the same as the 2017 run. As we all know from the 2017 experience, forecasts are just forecasts, so everything is still up in the air.
Fairbanks Outdoor Show
The Fairbanks Outdoor Show will take place April 20-22 at the Carlson Center. CDA will have a booth at the show again. We will conduct a dipnetting seminar. We need help manning the CDA booth. It is a lot of fun and slots are only 2-3 hours duration. Come help us inform the public and grow our organization. Contact Paul Harrell at 907-388-7227 via voice or text and Paul will get back to you.
In December, 2017, the CDA board voted to reduce the annual CDA membership fee from $25 to $20. Our 2018 membership drive is underway. We plan on awarding over $3,000 worth of prizes to new and renewing members. Each purchased membership will be automatically entered in our drawings. Prize drawings will be spaced throughout the dip net season with a grand prize of a 45-70 caliber guide gun (or cash equivalent) to be given away in August. We are working on an idea to award an extra ticket towards the grand prize to any member who brings in 3 addition members. In 2017 we had a membership of 333 and we would like to triple that to 999 in 2018. With 9,500 dip net permits issued in 2017 that leaves a lot of additional future members to generate those extra grand prize tickets. Memberships will be available at the CDA booth at the Fairbanks Outdoor Show or online at http://www.chitinadipnetters.com.
CDA Annual Meeting
The CDA 2018 annual meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 8, at the TVSA clubhouse off Boat Street. Representatives will be present from ADF&G sport fish division as well from DOT to answer all your questions concerning the 2018 dip net season, permit fee funds and the O'Brien - Haley Creek trail reconstruction project. Refreshments and snacks from Interior Fish Processors will be served. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the meeting. Come and share a fun night with your fellow dipnetters.
For 2018 we have added CDA embroidered logo hats to our apparel lineup. Hats are $20 or $15 when bought in conjunction with a new or renewing membership. Pictures of the hat will soon be on our website.
Thank you for being a CDA member and please take the time now to renew your membership for 2018.
Chuck Derrick, President