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Troopers watch for dipnet violators

Posted: July 13, 2012 - 9:40am
Cathy Buchta, right, gets help Thursday afternoon from Becky Nichols with clipping the tail fins on a red salmon Buchta caught dipnetting at the mouth of the Kenai River. Trimming the tail fins is one of the regulations dipnetters need to take care to follow.  M. Scott Moon
M. Scott Moon
Cathy Buchta, right, gets help Thursday afternoon from Becky Nichols with clipping the tail fins on a red salmon Buchta caught dipnetting at the mouth of the Kenai River. Trimming the tail fins is one of the regulations dipnetters need to take care to follow.

The Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery opened Tuesday to Alaska residents despite king restrictions and low numbers of other fish.

Alaska Wildlife Troopers will be checking for violators as throngs of visitors from around the state visit both the Kenai and the Kasilof dipnet fisheries.

Residents should remain mindful of the many types of violations for which they can be fined or receive misdemeanor charges, said Lt. Pete Mlynarik, Alaska Wildlife Troopers Soldotna post.

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery, which opened on its regular date of June 25, will remain open until Aug. 7. The Kenai River is open until July 31.

The two most common types of violations wildlife troopers see, said Mlynarik, is participants failing to mark and record caught fish. Last year, troopers handed out a total of 125 citations -- out of about 200 -- for failing to record fish caught, according to troopers.

"People forget to record their fish, but they need to," Mlynarik said. "(The troopers) hand out citations whether they think you forgot or whether you're not recording on purpose, trying to get more than is allowed."

The fine for failing to record caught fish is $100. Penalties for violations generally range from $75 to a misdemeanor, Mlynarik said.

Marking the fish requires removing both tips from a salmon's tailfin. The tips must be snipped off immediately, not after the salmon is removed from the fishing site.

This season, officials issued an emergency order prohibiting the retention of king salmon at the Kenai dipnet fishery. Only one king could be retained on the Kenai River during previous years. No retention of kings is allowed at the Kasilof and Fish Creek dipnet fisheries; an unchanged regulation.

Fishing is allowed at different times for each of the fisheries. The Kenai dipnet fishery is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. while dipnetting on the Kasilof River is allowed 24 hours a day. The Fish Creek dipnet fishery is opened by emergency order.

Wildlife troopers issued 45 citations for taking personal-use fish during a closed period last year. Taking a salmon when the river is closed can result in a $100 citation, plus $5 for every minute early or late for up to $300.

Troopers are bringing additional personnel to the area for the beginning of the season and for other limited periods of time, depending on how much the fisheries are used, Mlynarik said.

In addition to a resident fishing license, a personal-use permit is required for four fisheries: gillnetting and dipnetting on the Kasilof River, dipnetting on the Kenai River and dipnetting on Fish Creek.

The total yearly harvest limit is 25 salmon and 10 flounder for the permit holder and 10 salmon for each additional household member.
Only one permit is allowed per household, regardless of whether the residents are related.

For example, on June 30, wildlife troopers contacted two men from Anchorage near the Kasilof River personal use fishery. They discovered both men had a personal-use permit, and, as a result, one of the men was issued a misdemeanor citation for having more than one permit for his household.

"All people, in the household, who are fishing need to be listed on the permit," Mlynarik said. "And all people fishing need to have the permit in their possession while fishing."

Permits may be obtained from private vendors and the Fish and Game offices of Soldotna, Homer, Anchorage and Fairbanks.

The regulations are consistent with previous years, he said, with the exception of the no retention of king salmon on Kenai River.

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com.

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northernlights
216
Points
northernlights 07/13/12 - 11:20 am
0
0
Greed

Greedy people wont adhere this comment. No one needs extra fish, they want it so they can sell it, cann it up and distribute it in the lower 48. Or feed their dogs. Selfishness makes me angry. those who cry we need all this fish to survive is lying, I hate it when people flock here to grab and take what they please then leave their mess behind. Same thing with clams, good gosh, I'm pushing for grants that we get more patrol to watch the greedy people from taking more than necessary.

robert white
378
Points
robert white 07/15/12 - 12:02 pm
0
0
greed

northernlights.... you nailed it!!!

BigRedDog
659
Points
BigRedDog 07/16/12 - 06:24 am
0
0
Trash talk is just that

Greedy people comments are myopic! Your only looking at the poor examples and throwing trash on the rest with more holy than though slang! Dipnetting is a total mayhem. These folks must be pretty hard up for protein to stand in the current and stick it out there for a fillet or two. And most but not all are very honest and straight up about procedure and recording. I would like to see a little procedure to the process, like a check out line. You know one where everybody leaving the area pulls up and announces there catch to a stationed F&G employee. There bye everybody knows there will be a check out station manned, not necessarily bye a Trooper; but your going to be checked so quit the BS and get in line. Do we need 6, 8, or 10 F&G Troopers infiltrating and sneaking up absent minded folks for revenue enhancement? Because that is what they are doing, they are not designing a system that is somewhat seamless that garners respect of procedure. There is no procedure or routine, just mayhem inviting violation which can be easily fined for extra revenue. That seems to be the rule of thumb for most Alaska DF&G regulations, how can we design this for the maximum window of oprotunity to catch and fine somebody! F&G should manage the resource not the people.

BigRedDog
659
Points
BigRedDog 07/16/12 - 07:25 am
0
0
Trash talk is just that

Greedy people comments are myopic! Your only looking at the poor examples and throwing trash on the rest with more holy than though slang! Dipnetting is a total mayhem. These folks must be pretty hard up for protein to stand in the current and stick it out there for a fillet or two. And most but not all are very honest and straight up about procedure and recording. I would like to see a little procedure to the process, like a check out line. You know one where everybody leaving the area pulls up and announces there catch to a stationed F&G employee. There bye everybody knows there will be a check out station manned, not necessarily bye a Trooper; but your going to be checked so quit the BS and get in line. Do we need 6, 8, or 10 F&G Troopers infiltrating and sneaking up absent minded folks for revenue enhancement? Because that is what they are doing, they are not designing a system that is somewhat seamless that garners respect of procedure. There is no procedure or routine, just mayhem inviting violation which can be easily fined for extra revenue. That seems to be the rule of thumb for most Alaska DF&G regulations, how can we design this for the maximum window of oprotunity to catch and fine somebody! F&G should manage the resource not the people.

msjinxie
110
Points
msjinxie 07/16/12 - 08:15 am
0
0
I agree with Red Dog

Amen....I could not have said it better Reddog...Greed is probably 75% of the problem here. People from out of state coming here to get salmon, just to ship it elsewhere. If you are knowingly breaking the law, be ready to get nailed. The rest of us who fish for subsistance and DO NOT get over greedy, are the ones suffering. Because of others bad behavior, we all get lumped into the mess just like back in our school days. My suggestion is, don't be greedy, take what you need and that is it. Sorry the State of Alaska can only sustain its resources for so long before it too, becomes obsolete with the rest of the other Lower 48's bad salmon runs. The poor King run proves it is being over fished and needs a second look.

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 07/16/12 - 08:41 pm
0
0
Watching will amount to

Watching will amount to nothing. What is needed is checking of permits as well as drivers licences & fishing licences for proof of residency, as well as catching those that have no permits.
Try racial profilling for a start even though it will be called such it will produce many illegal fishers and robbers of others rights as in TRUE Alaskan residents.
35+ yr resident and never checked at the dock for halibut until this year, now twice in Homer, so i know that they are out checking many folks for over limits so it should be a hayday of catching illegal dippers.
As for the Main problem with food in Alaska & world wide it's a control thing & the pretend regulations that we were told would help are nothing but a bunch of BS to actually reduce the avalibility of Salmon or Bull moose, not inhance their numbers. But we got Bears.
Food is the next main control item, economics & oil are already controled. But food is that one thing that will force many into illegal actions in order to survive the coming World order if one refuses to join the UNION and it's not gonna be pretty when total control comes for everyone in regard to every aspect of daily life & survival. What a mess we are in.

RiverKeeper
16
Points
RiverKeeper 07/18/12 - 09:36 am
0
0
Penalty Box & Numbers

First problem: Penalty

Penalty placed on violators of the dip-net fishery are not harsh enough. This is a choice driven problem: People have a decision to make ...should I mark these fish or can we make it out without being caught?

Change the risk analysis and you change the problem.

What if getting caught equals $5,000 ? ...you might think about your decision a bit more.

Second Problem: Numbers

We know that the system is being abused. But, to what extent? We need a study that looks at percentages of people stopped and compares that data to percentages of violators. Then look at the average number of fish taken by violators and extrapolate the data. ADF&G uses the harvest card numbers for their totals. THEY ARE WAY OFF !!!

Also, incentivise the return of the harvest card.

If you get a harvest card this year, and do not return your harvest card by the set date, then you do not get one the following year (Published list). Simple tracking and xcell database.

Knowing what the actual numbers are would be a huge help in understanding the overall management of the fishery.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 07/26/12 - 09:48 pm
0
0
Limits

All good points Riverkeeper, but you forgot one problem... Limits, or the lack thereof. Much like the rest of the inriver fishery, there are no limits. Our river system is fragile - we cannot invite everyone to share its bounty for the few short weeks it's available. Unlimited access to a limited resource will always end in trouble.

The state created this fishery and is now using it as a management tool. It is growing rapidly, and it is replacing the commercial industry - an industry that supports this community much more and year yound. In a year of low return, neither the setnet nor the drift fleet will be fishing.

95% of dipnetters don't buy beer and diapers here in the winter, they don't buy new boats from the local boat builders to go dipping in, they don't buy new houses to live in while they dipnet, and they don't pay taxes to our local government all winter long.

Insist on limits. Our river needs it. Our economy needs it. Our community needs it.

julie
135
Points
julie 07/27/12 - 08:41 am
0
0
End Salmon Bycatch Petition

But they do pay the city well over $450,000 just in parking fees, we buy gas, all the equipment to put up this fish, spend money in your restaurants, stores buying ice etc. Yes its only temporary, but think of the Kenai community if all those people didn't descend on your space and buy buy buy for about 2 weeks. And I live in Alaska so I'm supporting our economy no matter where I live. And I pick up other people's trash, especially those styrofoam cups & plastic water bottles being passed out so freely to people that brought there own supplies to begin with. I'm really tired of reading all these negative posts. The media reports so much about where the fish are, how to get them, when to get them, that you can't blame everyone for coming out. You can't blame personal use fishery for setnetters being shut down. The problem is that big money trawlers own the fish and are killing our precious chinook. Everyone else is paying the price right on down from seiners, driftnetter, setnetters, to subsistence & even the silly sport fishermen that "catch & release" (kill). Let's address the REAL problem here.. Killing of fish is a waste and for trawler's pocketbook ONLY! We the Alaskans are the ones suffering in pocketbook, freezer, work, & our precious unique way of life. http://signon.org/sign/end-salmon-halibut-bycatch

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