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Kenai council continues dipnet talks

Posted: February 5, 2013 - 11:03pm

The Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery discussion will continue in a work session at Kenai City Hall today at 5:30 p.m.

“(Dipnetters are) not just going to be able to go outside their tents anymore and fillet their fish and leave it. They will be cited for that,” Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said. “We’ll have a little bit more enforcement on the beach and more cleanup.”

Porter’s statement stems from the Jan. 7 dipnet work session. At the meeting concerned city residents said that the 2012 dipnet season was the worst in the 20-plus years the fishery has been operating. They said they wanted the city to take a stance.

At the work session City Manager Rick Koch will present to the city council two options for managing the yearly mess left at the fishery, he said. One option will serve as a short-term solution; the other a long-term fix, he said.

The first option would add more Dumpsters to the north and south beaches and buy a second tractor to rake fish waste during low tides. The tractor and various capital and operating costs are estimated at $172,350.

This option would soften the blow from rising user fees and expand current operations on the beaches, Koch said at the Jan. 7 meeting.

Koch said he will present the first option as a temporary fix for next dipnet season; it is not a long-term solution.

“At some point in the not so very distant future, we’re actively working towards a program (where) fish waste is collected and removed from the beach,” he said.

That is the second option, he said, and he will ask for direction from the council to move forward with it. He said he hopes to have the program implemented in the next two to five years.

But progress is staggered, Koch said. “We have to do a lot to catch-up with the year that we just had ... and get ahead of what’s going to happen the next year,” he said.

Each year the numbers of fish and dipnet users rise, leaving behind greater amounts of fish waste and trash, he said.

“If we can get the state on board with helping us with trying to mitigate some of these issues, fish waste specifically, I think we can get ahead of it,” Koch said.

The council will meet in the council chambers in City Hall, 210 Fidalgo Ave.

Dan Schwartz can be reached at

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ManInBlack 02/06/13 - 09:52 am
The problem with cleaning fish on the beach.....

.... is many fold. It is by FAR the least sanitary place to fillet fish there is, save using one of the public bathrooms, and even then it would be close. Our family lives close enough to the beach to be able to host friends and family from as far away as Juneau, ALL of whom bring their WHOLE fish to our house to process. All of the waste is handled in a responsible manner; chopped up for several gardens in the area, or double bagged and taken to the transfer station.

There is absolutely NO REASON to allow fish cleaning on the beach, if absolutely NOTHING else it allows for people to take FAR BEYOND their limit. We have witnesses the same family stay camped out on the beach for the entirety of the dipnet season..... filling multiple coolers per DAY with fillets.

Make EVERYONE take their whole fish off the beach. No exceptions.

shadowmt 02/06/13 - 11:46 am
ManInBlack hit the nail on the head

Pat Porter's statement does not make sense. If they are not going to be allowed to process their fish and leave it then why is it going to be more cleanup? Also, if there is only trash not fish waste left why does the city think they need another new tractor to rake the beach at low tide? The city council has too much time on their hands if they cannot figure this out!
I live a very short distance from the river and have been dipnetting from the git go and have never left fish waste on the beach. My fish are taken home whole and processed. People from out of town can do the same thing. They only have to bring a few more coolers and ice.
Pat Porter and Rick Koch need to get on the same page and get rid of those 2 options they came up with. The only option is ticket the people and make them clean up their own mess.

“(Dipnetters are) not just going to be able to go outside their tents anymore and fillet their fish and leave it. They will be cited for that,” Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said. “We’ll have a little bit more enforcement on the beach and more cleanup.”

JOAT 02/08/13 - 05:41 am

They don't need a tractor or more dumpsters. Invest that $ into enforcement. Stop all fish cleaning on the beach within the dipnet zone. Banned outright. None allowed; period. If someone does anything more than rip the gills and clip the tail, give them a ticket. This is a public health issue as much as it is a littering issue.

And they seriously need to prohibit all overnight camping on either beach, within the dipnet zone, for the duration of dipnetting season. No tents on that section of beach. No squatters. That swath of PUBLIC land needs to remain accessible to all the public during July and not be overrun by a bunch of filthy out-of-towners each laying claim to 500 square feet of our public property so that no one else can use it.

Just draw a line from the upper and lower markers straight up the beach by the shortest line to the bluff on the north and the dunes on the south. No tents and no overnight camping within this zone. You'll see the trash problem instantly decrease by at least a factor of 10. And every morning the beach will be first come, first served without those squatters having thier reserved spots. They can go buy time in a campground, RV park, or hotel like the other tourists have to do.

ManInBlack 02/08/13 - 11:08 am
But JOAT....

..... then the "illustrious" schity of kenai would miss out on an opportunity of bilking the people (including those who already pay taxes to cover the schity park) of a few dollars (see: reason to keep conditional use permits in place for chickens, for ONE example).

It would be intersting to see some of the local privately owned rv parks and campgrounds get an attorney to look into NCC dealing with the city (a government entity), and see if it panned out like the issue in Soldotna did a few years back......

But I agree; no cleaning of fish, no camping on the beach, money saved go towards enforcement of BOTH.

BigRedDog 02/08/13 - 03:20 pm
No Envirnmental assessment done

Property owners get the short end of the stick a lot when something as dynamic as the Kenai River Dip Netting maylay isn't thought through in the beginning. Maybe there are a few details that were never considered. We fine caneries for improper disposal of fish waste, happens every year, some over worked mole in the stream of fish waste gets backed up and lets some slip. This isn't the same thing, a sanctioned use by the State of Alaska, operated at profit by the City is improperly disposing of tons of fish waste knowingly.
The F&G must be making to much money checking licences to observe the rest of their responsibilities. This violates the same code of conduct you require of commercial canneries as it poses the same health and enviromental risks. Somebody could be fined or charged under the same code used to ticket a cannery. Now just who was it that seems to be the BIG cahoona in change of operating this improper discharge of fish waste. That would be the one running all the meetings and showing the authority needed to referee this meylay. Could you step up and take this ticket please.

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