Current weather

  • Overcast, mist, light snow
  • 28°
    Overcast, mist, light snow
  • Comment

Dipnet season largest ever, report says

Posted: December 20, 2011 - 6:39pm  |  Updated: December 22, 2011 - 1:49pm
M. Scott Moon
Chris Basketfield shows off a red salmon - the first fish he had ever caught - during the dipnet fishery in Kenai last July. The city of Kenai released it’s annual report on the fishery in October.

If it seemed like there was a massive influx of people on the Kenai Peninsula during July — even more than usual — that’s because there was.

According to the 2011 Dipnet Report, released in October by the city of Kenai, the area saw the greatest activity to date during the season bringing in a non-grant revenue of $320,634. That number is $33,599 more than last year’s non-grant revenues.

“It was the biggest year in revenues,” Kenai City Manager Rick Koch said. “It was the biggest year as far as volume of participants as well.”

The non-grant expenditures for 2011 were $302,262.67, meaning revenues over expenditures came out to be $18,371.33, which is where the city has been historically, Koch said.

“We don’t make a profit,” he said. “You can ask anyone in business, revenues are just a measure of how busy you are — not a measure of how much money you make.”

The 2011 dipnet fishery was open for 24 hours for most of the season, something that the city had to adjust to. Beach cleaning efforts had to take place during low tides or when there wasn’t as many people on the beach, Koch said.

“Sometimes we were effective, sometimes we weren’t,” he said. “It just mattered how many people were in the way.”

Koch has asked the state to help provide funds that would assist in creating “three fish cleaning/waste transfer and enforcement/data collection stations”, according to the Kenai City Council State Funding Priorities list. The proposed stations would be at north beach, south beach and the city boat launch. If the money does come from the state, Koch said the fees for the fishery might increase.

“I would propose that if we had the capital money for the fish cleaning stations, we would then increase the fees of the fishery,” Koch said.

The increased fees would help cover the contract valued at $100,000 to 150,000, for disposal of the fish waste, Koch said.

Koch said if an alternative was provided, anglers would no longer be able to leave fish remains on the beach.

“We would cite people for littering if they threw the fish into the river or deposited it along the shore,” he said.
The 24-hour opening also forced the city also to find a way to get dump trucks to the dumpsters and increase staff, among other obstacles.

“There wasn’t that much that wasn’t impacted by (Alaska Department of) Fish and Game’s decision to open (the personal use fishery) for 24 hours a day,” Koch said.

It is Fish and Game’s decision to open or close a fishery, the city does not have decision-making abilities, Koch said.

“We are absolutely reactionary to this fishery,” Koch said. “We do not have a seat at the table in the decision making process — although 100 percent of the fishery takes place on land owned by the city of Kenai.”

With the influx of fish to the river came a state-wide exodus, of sorts, of fishermen to Kenai.

As the personal fishery users would exit the parking lot, the shack attendant would ask them where they are from, Koch said. The results, Koch said, showed that 93 percent of the people who participated in the fishery are not from the Kenai Peninsula.

“It’s Anchorage, Mat-Su, Fairbanks — you name it,” he said. “Only seven out of 100 participants are from somewhere on the Kenai Peninsula.”

Of that 7 percent, Koch said, 3 percent of the users were from the city of Kenai.

The increase of people in addition with the 24-hour opening caused the Kenai Police Department and the four Seasonal Enforcement Officers to work over time and be stricter in their enforcement. There were 59 citations written during the fishery, compared to 6 in 2010. Of those 59 citations, most of those were parking violations, Kenai Police Chief Gus Sandahl said. “Most of those are for people not displaying parking permits,” he said. “Which normally means they didn’t pay for parking.”

The massive amounts of people also made it difficult for setnetters to get to their sites. Sandahl said the path allowing vehicles to drive from South Spruce Drive on to the north beach was so congested that the setnetters needed a police escort to get to their sites.

“The city tries to designate this path every year for setnet vehicles so they don’t get stuck,” Sandahl said. “People were encroaching on that, the parking lot is not big enough.”

The police department and the Seasonal Enforcement Officers received 121 calls for service, according to the report. Of those 121, there were four for fights, three for disturbances caused by intoxication and two for public drunkenness. Sandahl cited the fact that there was “far more people in town than ever before.”

“When you have that many thousands of people down here, we know that people are drinking alcohol,” Sandahl said. “But we don’t typically get anyone’s alcohol consumption rising to the level of a public drunkeness call during the fishery, or to a point where it’s causing a problem.”

Logan Tuttle can be reached at logan.tuttle@peninsulaclarion.com.

  • Comment

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 12/21/11 - 09:24 am
0
0
Dipnet

This is the worst thing that has happened to the Kenai in the 25 years that I have lived here!

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 12/21/11 - 10:33 pm
0
0
Dipnetting

One of the best things that's happened to the Kenai in the 33 years that I've lived here!

kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 12/22/11 - 07:44 am
0
0
Dipnetting

So you must be one of them fish pigs, and then throw it out in the spring.

thewhop2000
30
Points
thewhop2000 12/22/11 - 08:58 am
0
0
over 30,000 household permits are now issued each year.

Just imagine if we didn't have dipnetting for Alaskan residents. How long could the Kenai and Kasilof habitat take with those many folks trying to use a rod and reel and trampling the grasses? That is over 80,000 Alaskans in those 30,000 household permits. Having them on the beaches is way so much better than by Centennial park, Don't ya think?? Nothing goes to waste in my house and no, I don't consider myself a fish pig.

alaskagunhunter
8
Points
alaskagunhunter 12/22/11 - 12:36 pm
0
0
I haven’t talked to anyone

I haven’t talked to anyone who lives here whom has benefited from the hoards of people that swelled our area to the max for a frenzy of trash and dash. If the city doesn’t profit from this and the local PD and FD's have their response numbers jump and we have highway fatalities due to a fish run frenzy than why do we allow this kind of behavior again. I understand the state owns the beach but the city owns the access and the citizen’s don’t want this than let’s stop or limit the numbers. A toll booth on the sterling would slow things down and raise some much needed revenue.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 12/22/11 - 06:06 pm
0
0
I was going to comment on

I was going to comment on this but you people are not even worth it

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 12/22/11 - 11:34 pm
0
0
Get out and talk to more

Get out and talk to more people then. There are hundreds, if not thousands, who benefit from tourism to the Kenai.

The city does profit. Read the report. The local PD & FD actually WANT the increased response numbers. Those numbers are how they justify staffing and equipment purchases.

Highway fatalities occur regardless of anything else going on away from the highway. The reason highway accidents happen is due to poor driving habits. Has nothing to do with where they are driving from or to, but how they are driving. You just need to accept highway fatalities as part of life. We've had highway accidents and fatalities for the last 100 years. The only way you'll stop them is to eliminate highways and/or vehicles. Good luck with that.

I love it when liberals think up new ways to collect taxes on the populace. Especially when they don't even have a need for the tax money. A toll booth on the Sterling won't slow things down beyond the hundred yards leading up to it. Moronic idea.

From a local resident sport fisher, dipnetter, hunter, gatherer, I greatly appreciate the dipnet fishery. And I've never taken a fish to the dump. Ever. Take only what I can use and use all that I take. That's the Alaskan way.

thewhop2000
30
Points
thewhop2000 12/23/11 - 06:12 am
0
0
get real gunhunter

I did a search for 2010 dipnet numbers thru fish and game and the numbers say almost 5000 Kenai residents and almost 5000 Soldotna residents obtained a dipnet permit. All those businesses that live off of the 21 day season? Get real and appreciate the fact that half the state comes down your way for the 3 weeks. If it was not for the dipnet fishery, most small business's would not survive the winter. I hear bitching but don't hear complaints when the cash register goes ca-ching, ca-ching.

kenai-king
255
Points
kenai-king 12/23/11 - 08:35 am
0
0
dipnet

The Kenai does not make much on this dipnet season. All of them that come down here buy everything in Anchorage because it is cheaper. And there is so many of them that the Highways are not safe the community cannot take this kind of pressure it gets worse every year. I cannot believe that there is any house hold that needs over 30 fish a year.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 12/26/11 - 12:59 pm
0
0
first off if the local stores

first off if the local stores were to lower their prices then more people would buy locally, next, I drive the sterling highway between soldotna and homer 5 days a week, 4 times a day,it is just as dangerous now as during the summer, people do not want to slow down, when they see 55 mph then that is what they think they should drive no matter what kind of road conditions we have, and most of these people are driving over the posted speed limit, and slow vehical turnouts are not the answer, the turnouts we have now are not plowed half of the time.and last but not least me and my family DO use more than 30 fish a year , with the price of meat in our local stores, and the price of fuel for us to drive to anchorage, and the new regs for moose, fish is the largest staple we use on our dinner table. so if they try and get rid of dipnetting I will still do it and if they arrest me for doing it then the state can pay to feed my family which comes from tax payers,( by the way I do work and pay taxes so dont think I'm a dead beat that wants a handout).

questair
0
Points
questair 12/27/11 - 11:20 am
0
0
Statewide benefit

Alaska's constitution requires that the fish and game resources be managed for sustained yield for the maximum benefit of Alaska residents. What other fishery benefits more Alaskans. It is estimated that over 80,000 Alaskans received the benefit of the personal use fishery (dip-net) on the Kenai. By the time permit holders and their families give friends some fish, the number is likely much higher. Many business benefit from the fishery. Anyone who claims the contrary is simply just wrong and out of touch with the economics of the fishery. The city of Kenai makes money on the fishery. The issues raised by the article can be and are being properly addressed. More Kenai and Soldotna permits are issued per capita than for any other place. It is not just an"outsiders" fishery as some argue. And the fishery is a very good management tool for the ADF&G to use to prevent the so called dreaded over escapement while at the same providing so many with an opportunity to stock their freezers for the winter. In short, the minor problems are more than offset by the benefits.

robert white
378
Points
robert white 02/14/12 - 09:30 am
0
0
great season

I know a family up north who came down and took home 1400 reds from the mouth of the kasilof this year, and have been doing it for lots of years...all in the name of subsistence.

Back to Top

Spotted

Please Note: You may have disabled JavaScript and/or CSS. Although this news content will be accessible, certain functionality is unavailable.

Skip to News

« back

next »

  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321268/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321253/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321248/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321243/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321208/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/320593/
  • title http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321173/ http://spotted.peninsulaclarion.com/galleries/321163/
My Gallery

CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS