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Kenai closes on a clean dipnet season

Posted: August 6, 2013 - 8:39pm  |  Updated: August 8, 2013 - 6:40am
Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion   A dipnetter washes her catch at the North Beach dipnet fishery on the Kenai River July 10, 2013 in Kenai, Alaska.
Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion A dipnetter washes her catch at the North Beach dipnet fishery on the Kenai River July 10, 2013 in Kenai, Alaska.

The city of Kenai ended its dipnet season with fishery beaches and waters cleaner than they have been in years, authorities said.

The city found less trash and fish waste on its beaches, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation documented overall lower levels of enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria.

“We’ve never had the beaches clean like this since I’ve been here,” City Manager Rick Koch said. Koch has lived in Kenai for seven years.

Following past dipnet seasons, residents have found dirty diapers, human feces and other trash on the city’s North and South Beaches, where the fishery operates. But this year dipnetters dropped trash in the 12 dumpsters stationed along the beach, Koch said.

The dumpsters were a new addition to the city’s management plan. In past years the city placed dumpsters only along the road and in the parking lots, Koch said.

As part of its management plan, the city also required that all dipnetters dump fish waste into the Kenai River and Cook Inlet low tide line, Koch said. The city then raked the fish waste that remained with a tractor more frequently into the water, he said.

In the three years ADEC has conducted its bacterial level monitoring of the dipnet fishery, this year’s averaged bacterial levels were the lowest, said Tim Stevens, ADEC environmental program specialist for the division of water.

Stevens said Kenai’s decree to dump fish waste at the fishery’s low tide line likely helped reduce the enterococci and fecal coliform bacteria levels, though the department is still calculating its findings.

Seaguls, terns and other water fowl produce in their defecation more than 80 percent of the bacteria found at the fishery, Stevens said.

Also this dipnet season, dipnetters avoided paying more fishery fees than they have in past years, Koch said. He does not know how — maybe some park in town and walk to the fishery to avoid parking fees — but the city will consider solutions to the loophole, he said.

The city will finalize its 2013 dipnet report by the end of August, Koch said.

This article has been updated to correct a typographical error.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com.

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wilsonro
100
Points
wilsonro 08/07/13 - 01:24 pm
2
1
Dipnet

Wow! what a joke! This year was the worst I have ever seen the dumpsters and piles of trash laying everywhere down at the Kasilof River. The Clarion has a picture my wife sent to them of a heaping pile of trash that was there for a week, birds were getting into the trash and scattering it all over.
Again government can buy the media and have the public believing everything is fine. I have lived here all my life and know a lot of people and not one of them was happy about the traffic, rude people, trash, and overcrowded stores. This is not ok and the Kenai Peninsula Borough needs to wake up along with our ADF&G.
The dip net fishery has been breaking the Magnuson-Stevens Act for years and our government does nothing about it.

spybot
98
Points
spybot 08/07/13 - 02:14 pm
0
0
Restricted access fisheries are legal for states

Restricted fisheries, such as resident-only fisheries, are legal for any state to enact. There are other states besides Alaska that also enact restricted access fisheries.

Additionally, restricted fisheries are legal on the federal level (rural subsistence fisheries for rural residents in Alaska) and on the international level (subsistence halibut fisheries for First Nations in Canada and Alaska Natives in Alaska).

There are many types of resident-only fisheries in Alaska, be it subsistence in subsistence areas of the state or personal use in the non-subsistence areas of the state.

Magnuson-Stevens Act regulates federal fisheries in federal waters from 3 to 200 miles in the marine waters - states have jurisdiction from 0 to 3 miles in the marine waters.

Alaska's personal use and subsistence fisheries occur in the state zone from 0 to 3 miles - species include salmon, crab, shrimp...

The feds have a salmon fishery management plan with the state of Alaska, where Alaska manages the salmon fisheries in Federal waters for the federal government. That is where the MSA regulations apply. MSA does not apply to state waters where the resident-only fisheries occur, such as the Kenai / Kasilof dip net fisheries.

wilsonro
100
Points
wilsonro 08/07/13 - 05:11 pm
2
0
Legal

This fishery was added after the Magnuson-Stevens Act was put into law. Part of the act was no new fisheries will be developed and then the dipnet fishery was written into ADF&G'S Bible, breaking an international treaty. State or Federal doesn't matter its breaking an international treaty that we developed. It is becoming a monster that is causing local people to stay out of their own town. We hate it! Dipnetting when I was a small kid was just the Kenai Peninsula residence, it was a tool ADF&G used to control over escapement. The Dip net fishery has never been shut down or regulated, if it is July 10 game on. This fishery needs to be regulated. The Dipnet Fishery should only be allowed to begin once minimum escapement is made, Period!!!!!! There should be a local only boat launch for local dipnetters, so we don’t have to put up with all the morons. I can think of many more but it is a waste of my time because it will never happen.

KMarx
179
Points
KMarx 08/07/13 - 05:51 pm
0
0
wilsonro
100
Points
wilsonro 08/08/13 - 09:19 am
2
1
Kmarx

I was talking about both the Kasilof and the Kenai, the Dipnet fishery on the Kenai period. I would like to see a pole on the Clarion on what locals think of the dipnet fishery in July. I have heard the line a million times that the dipnet fishery is the states resource and that’s that, so that makes it ok for the massive influx of people to come to the little old Kenai and Kasilof rivers in a small town that the infrastructure was not designed for. Everybody on their Alaska vacation and the whole rest of the State to be here at the same time . Why is it our responsibility to put up with this chaos, just because we have a natural resource that is easily assessable. The State of Alaska is destroying a historic town that was built on old traditions and commercial fishing and turning it over to sport fishing and the subsistence fishery that supplies the whole state with Red Salmon and their relatives in the lower 48’s. I have a great amount of ownership and appreciation for our town and can’t stand to see it be abused. I don’t give the clarions or state of Alaska’s clean bill of health any credit, because it goes way beyond what little atta-boys there giving the local and state government. The local residence need to get together and start fighting to get our town back!

spybot
98
Points
spybot 08/08/13 - 10:17 am
0
1
Many locals get fish from the dip net fishery

A recent UAF survey indicated that two-third of Kenai Peninsula resident eat fish harvested from the Kenai and Kasilof personal use fisheries.

Just saying.

Your interpretation of law was not validated by recent court cases brought forth by commercial fishermen that attempted to challenge the validity of the Kenai Peninsula personal use fisheries - these arguments were rejected by the court.

To imply that the personal use fisheries on the Kenai Peninsula are somehow illegal on the state, national or international level is a joke.

gman
4
Points
gman 08/08/13 - 10:31 am
0
0
Wilsonro Dipnet

Sorry to hear this. I bought property in Kenai 18 years ago and visit your state every year. i have been down to watch the dip-netting and can tell you that the people of Alaska and i mean all parts of alaska are very kind. If your so unhappy about the folks form up north and around Alaska visiting Kenai just say the word. I'll be more and happy to switch places with you. If not why don't you just pack your ash up and move. i may be wrong but does the dipnetting not bring a nice amount of money for the local business. Oh by the way, if you want to write about something, let's hear about the King issue's. Now that's a problem. Still love your State tho.

Allen
636
Points
Allen 08/08/13 - 01:03 pm
1
1
The Kenai beaches were

The Kenai beaches were cleaner of fish waste than last year, but there were not enough dumpsters, and they were overflowing with trash piled around them all day every day. Dip net fishermen made it miserable for locals to try to walk on the beach, with the fish waste, camp sites, and general all around trashing. I don't know why the Kenai government allows people to camp on the beach, then it's an "emergency" during high tide. Why does the Kenai government allow hundreds and thousands of cars, trucks and ATVs to trash the beach for a month, for miles in every direction. It's complete chaos and a free for all.

gman tells locals who complain about the dip net fishery to move away. That's not the way we deal with things in Alaska, bub. Oh yeah, I shop local and I didn't see any huge crowds in any of the Kenai stores and restaurants in July, because dip net fishermen bring their food with them, don't use hotels, and generally are here to camp for free. The fishery is a small bump in revenue for some businesses, not a big economic boom.

alaskanni
55
Points
alaskanni 08/08/13 - 02:38 pm
1
1
Alaskan Resident

I am an Alaska resident. I have been dipnetting in Kenai for more years than some of the "residents" have lived there. It does not matter if I live in Kenai, Homer, Seward, Anchorage, Fairbanks or Knik. The Kenai residents do not and will never own the Kenai or Kasilof rivers. Get over yourselves. I have just as much right to fish there as you do. Either we all can benefit from OUR State's natrual resources or none of us can. You do not get to reserve it for "just Kenai residents'. What an elitist attitude. I do not trash the beaches. People do not get to camp for free unless they have friends and family who live in Kenai and camp in their yards. It cost's non-Kenai residents $20 just to drive on the beach. I know for a fact that Kenai residents ride their off road vehicles and even their trucks right by the pay shack or know another route and most do not pay for the privilege of harvesting our States resources like people from other parts of Alaska. The beaches were cleaner this year than they have been for quite some time. It's not people's fault for trying to use the dumpster if they are full and there is not enough of them. At least they are bagging up their trash. Quit your complaining.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 08/08/13 - 03:32 pm
0
0
Crowds

I was in kenai during dip net season, the stores were packed the shelves were bare,and there were no ice to be found in soldotna or kenai,do not tell me there was no revenue going into local businesses. By law the public has priority over commercial. Ninilchik had over 7000 people in their town in one weekend,with one gas station,one store and two restaurants,that is a lot of people.the communities infrastructure was not harmed, and we all survived the weekend. Go down and talk to the dipnetters most of the nets are bought on the kenai peninsula, I saw people walking down to the beach with new coolers they had bought at Walmart or Safeway, not to mention all the fuel they buy for cars,trucks,or ATVs. So if you don't like it then don't look,tighten you belt,and say it'll be over soon. Some people need to get over it.

spybot
98
Points
spybot 08/08/13 - 05:35 pm
0
0
Walking the beaches

I encourage anyone to sit at the Hansen Memorial Park that overlooks the Kenai beaches from June 1 - July 9, or from August 1 - September 15, and see the throngs of local people walking the beaches.

I eat lunch there often - hardly anyone ever walks the beaches - not saying no one, cause a few folks do, but not many people out there using the beaches like a public beach in Florida or California is used.

So a lot of Alaskans come to our area for three weeks of the year - BFD. A lot of people go to Nome during the Iditarod, a lot of people go to Anchorage and Fairbanks during AFN, a lot of people invade the middle of nowhere for Arctic Man, a lot of people live in this state and like to travel and do things.

The personal use fishery is one of those activities.

If you like solitude walks on beaches, go north to Captain Cook State Park, a very short drive during that time frame if you are so offended that Alaskans are actually using a public beach in Alaska.

rwhobby
196
Points
rwhobby 08/09/13 - 07:41 am
1
0
Dip net fishery

The Kenai river dip net fishery is out of control. The city of Kenai has turned into a big business and could care less about the resource. It is way over crowed and the boat launch is a joke. Maybe the city should expand the boat launch, instead of buying 4 wheelers (every year) and lawn mowers. I believe the fishery should be taking out of the city's hands. The biggest problem with the fishery is that you get charged money to walk on public land, the city does not own the land below the high high tide mark. I have lived in Kenai my whole life and I avoid go to town in dip net season!

rwhobby
196
Points
rwhobby 08/09/13 - 07:41 am
1
0
Dip net fishery

The Kenai river dip net fishery is out of control. The city of Kenai has turned into a big business and could care less about the resource. It is way over crowed and the boat launch is a joke. Maybe the city should expand the boat launch, instead of buying 4 wheelers (every year) and lawn mowers. I believe the fishery should be taking out of the city's hands. The biggest problem with the fishery is that you get charged money to walk on public land, the city does not own the land below the high high tide mark. I have lived in Kenai my whole life and I avoid go to town in dip net season!

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 08/09/13 - 03:26 pm
0
0
RE: Dip Net Fishery

rwhobby, the city is not charging people to walk on public land. However, they are charging for access to that particular area. At the same token, the city does not have to police said public land for trash and / or misconduct by its users, but they do. Maybe they should charge more to get the situation under control. More capital outlay sometimes decreases users. Then the problem is, only those that can afford it are able to partake.
I agree with you that the fishery is out of control, but please tell me what options there are to remedy the situation. The city has zero control over whether the fishery takes place or not and therefore has only one option, that being to capitalize on an event put forth by the state and its residence to harvest the natural resource in order to pay for the extra services required of the city as a result of the fishery.
I wait anxiously for a solution to what most agree is a growing problem.
s2wheel; no doubt there is an influx of capital in to the cities tax revenues. However, many of those new coolers that came from Walmart, cam from Anchorage Walmarts where there is no sales tax. The additional tax revenues more than likely doesn't touch the expense of additional service required to host such a fishery. Therefore the fees collected for parking, camping and boat launches are what sustains the fishery economically speaking.

Suss
3885
Points
Suss 08/09/13 - 06:54 pm
0
0
SVP

The City of Kenai does have to police the beaches for trash and crime, as they are not only in the city limits but are city property. Being overwhelmed every summer is the norm and I think the learning curve has been met year after year by the city. There will be new challenges to address with each dip net season and for the three weeks that Kenai becomes the fourth largest city in Alaska. All in all we have been very lucky that this annual event has not been worse.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 08/09/13 - 07:42 pm
0
0
Clarify

Oops! Sorry my mistake, for not clarifying that the dipnet crowds I was talking about were in local businesses, and the coolers I was talking about were coming out of local stores.

Sam Von Pufendorf
1088
Points
Sam Von Pufendorf 08/09/13 - 10:10 pm
0
0
s2wheel

Sorry I was not clear enough..."MANY of those new coolers that came from Walmart, came from Anchorage Walmarts where there is no sales tax." The operative word being "MANY." Most people (I reiterate: MOST) that come down for the dipnet fishery buy MOST of their supplies in Anchorage where said supplies cost less due to the lack of a city or borough sales tax (3% borough and 6% city tax). MANY of those dipnet crowds you write of are local (peninsula) consumers or out of state tourists not participating in the dipnet fishery.
Suss, I can agree that the beaches fall within city limits, but I do not agree they are city property. The sand below the mean high tide line falls into no mans land. Therefore, I stand corrected on the policing of the beaches.

rwhobby
196
Points
rwhobby 08/09/13 - 10:53 pm
0
0
Out of control dip net fishery.

Here's one solution make it a drawing or limited entry like they do on special hunts within the state.
Another set an Income limit to qualify to Participate in the fishery. When you see a $300,000 motor home camped at the beach for a week canning fish and you only see two people, I believe there is more fish being taken and not being logged. There has been an increase of canned fish being sold in Flea markets in the lower 48 states, that's went Beyond personal use. I have read the city budget for the last 5 years they have Purchased 4 wheelers, rangers, lawn mowers, and pick-ups and yet you never see them. Kenai does have some control over the fishery, but chose really not to do anything but get the Revenue. The bacterial problem on the beach with the dead carcasses, final the EPA had to step in and enforce the clean water act, which has been a problem for the last few years.
The mean high tide mark to the water is public use, the fish are not above that line, they are at the waters edge.
I don't know the numbers for this year yet, but last year there was over 65,000 people who Participated in the fishery that's a huge impact on the community and the environment.

Dennis
5
Points
Dennis 08/10/13 - 04:16 am
0
0
Excellent Year

My family loves the dipnet fishery. Our kids participate, grandma's sit in lawn chairs, there are no hooks to worry about. People are friendly, fish waste was disposed of in the river. We spent $ @ restaurants and hotels, for our stay-cation.

Suss
3885
Points
Suss 08/10/13 - 06:33 am
1
0
Beaches

It is agreed that the land beneath the water at mean high tide is State controlled and not City owned property. The State leases these submerged properties in other areas to many set netters. There are a few old time pre-statehood patents that had given private owners title to submerged land that extends for over two hundred feet seaward from mean high tide. The first private property south of the south beach is one of those. My guess is they had included fish traps when they were surveyed and platted.
So if the water/beach beyond mean high tide is State controlled you would expect allot more presence from FWP during the July invasion of the beaches.

KMarx
179
Points
KMarx 08/10/13 - 11:11 am
0
1
Ownership of tidelands and submerged lands

The City of Kenai owns the beaches (tidelands) submerged lands (bottom of river and ocean) and the majority of uplands at the mouth of the Kenai River, and up river until you are over a mile upstream of the Warren Ames Bridge.

Suss
3885
Points
Suss 08/10/13 - 11:56 am
2
0
State pre-dated City entity

Not sure about City ownership.

Dick Morgan was quoted on the incorporation of the City of Kenai.

"There was no government on the Peninsula at that time and a lot of people didn't want it," he said.

But through petitioners' efforts and editorials in the old Cheechako News, Morgan said, incorporation prevailed 181 to 85 on May 10, 1960 in a "special incorporation election."

http://peninsulaclarion.com/stories/040510/new_599143625.shtml

All waters in the state are held and managed by the state in trust for the use of the people, regardless of navigability or ownership of the submerged lands, under the Alaska Constitution and the public trust doctrine.2 Article VIII, Section 3 of the Alaska Constitution reserves all waters occurring in their natural state to the people for their common use and also allows access to navigable or public waters of the state as defined by the legislature.3 The state also owns tide and submerged lands in Alaska up to and including the mean high water mark and to three miles off the coast. Only tide or submerged lands which were claimed by entities prior to Statehood on January 3, 1959 may be owned by individuals other than the state.

wilsonro
100
Points
wilsonro 08/11/13 - 04:41 pm
0
0
gman

Gman u can kma, I have been here all my life, 42 yrs. I am not going anywhere. Why don't you stay down where you came from. The user name you see "Wilson" has been here for over six generations.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 08/11/13 - 06:55 pm
2
0
Wilsonro

I was dipnetting here before you were born,I have a right to the fish as much as anybody,and my parents came from Oklahoma worked hard and lived here all year long, other people have a right to move to Alaska, don't be so arrogant,

gman
4
Points
gman 08/12/13 - 04:34 am
0
0
Wilson

listin to you wine!!!! The Fact is, The dip-netting is for the people of Alaska not Just folks like you that live in Kenai. I pay full taxes on my property and have for 22 years along with full price on all fishing Lic. and can't dip-net. No problem. still enjoy all the people and just watching. Yes i have family that has lived in Kenai for 40 plus years and they enjoy dip-netting.Oh by the way i will be moving in full time in 3 years, so i will see you with a net in may hand very soon my Friend.

wilsonro
100
Points
wilsonro 08/12/13 - 02:22 pm
0
0
gman/s2wheel

Well, you all will be gone soon when there's no fish to argue over!

alaskanni
55
Points
alaskanni 08/13/13 - 10:43 am
0
0
Funny

I find it funny that you Kenai folks blame everything on Anchorage. Not all the dipnetters that come there are from Anchorage. There are many from Soldotna, Seward, Homer, Nikiski, Ninilkchik, Anchor Point, Chugiak, Peter's Creek, Wasilla, Palmer, Fairbanks, Egale River, I could go on and on. It's cute to see your hatred of anything Anchorage come out in your petty arrogant rants. You do not and never will own the Rivers. You should be happy the rest of us don't all move to Kenai year round. I would think you would just suck it up for a few weeks and thank God we aren't all there all the time. You wouldn't have your pristine little oasis if we all lived there just so we could dip net.

Suss
3885
Points
Suss 08/13/13 - 09:25 am
1
0
alaskanni

Please excuse the people that think they own the Kenai River. Fighting over fish is almost as popular as fishing and takes a lot less skill.

s2wheel
55
Points
s2wheel 08/13/13 - 10:01 am
0
0
Wilson

No I will still be here,born and raised and staying

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