2,000 Kings Allocated for Bethel Starting June 10th

by Sophie Evan on May 29, 2015

photo by S.Evan/KYUK

photo by S.Evan/KYUK

Kuskokwim salmon season begins soon after the smelt arrive, and the tiny salmon trailbreakers have already made their way upriver. This week, the Bethel Test Fishery reported three chinook caught and given away to local indigenous elders. This year, the federal managers are offering 32 voluntary community harvest permits to villages.

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The total subsistence king harvest is limited to 7-thousand total, and pro-rated to each village based on an historical average harvest. The share for Orutsararmiut Native Council, or ONC Bethel’s tribe, is over 2-thousand kings. ONC Natural Resources Director Greg Roczicka explains.

“The program, as it was put forward from Fish and Wildlife, is that the tribal council’s in each community and on the Kuskokwim would administer the permits. So ONC becomes responsible for doing that for Bethel,” says Roczicka.

Roczicka says the fish allocated to Bethel is not only for the local indigenous population.

It is not limited to tribal members only, it’s required that it be made available to all Bethel residents,” says Roczicka.

Roczicka stressed that those who have customary and traditional use practices for the salmon will be given priority for their subsistence needs. In plain words that means those who have established fish camps. The criteria for distribution of kings comes from the office of subsistence management under the 804 ANILCA determination, and fifteen (15) years of subsistence harvest data from Bethel residents.

“Our plan for an allocation for Bethel would be that fish camps will be given a priority allocation, and we have 121 active fish camps in town and on the river,” says Roczicka.

Roczicka asks those with an active fish camp to make sure their name is on the salmon distribution list by calling ONC. Each active fish camp could potentially get fifteen salmon.

The other part of this, says Roczicka, is to identify and officially designate fifty fishermen, by June 3rd, who will harvest Bethel’s allocation starting June 10th.

The ONC fishery staff can be reached anytime at 545-1272, or at their main offices.

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