Biological trigger for dippers

Posted: Friday, July 14, 2006

I have just a few brief comments about today’s Clarion poll (week of July 5-10). The question about dipnetting requiring a biological escapement trigger is topical. This fishery originated on the surplus stocks of larger returns in the late ’80s. Last year some 400,000 sockeyes were harvested by the “gillnet on a stick” fishery. What was once intended as a fishery to slow the escapements on large returns is now prosecuted on a calendar date which on a year such as this is tantamount to a latent in-river allocation.

As previously slated, opening a fishery when fish are not present (July 10) fattens the general tenor of disappointment for participants.

On a year like this with a low projected return, better to error on the side of caution than create false expectations. All users benefit in times of abundance, the burden of conservation should be shouldered by all user groups, and, of course, the fish should come first.

Oh, by the way, fish carcasses litter the beaches at Ninilchik and Deep Creek. The EPA requires fish waste be ground to a quarter of an inch. Apparently the state has their own accommodation standard here and at the Russian River.

John McCombs


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