Anchorage Senator Calling to Extend Dipnet Fishery

Posted: July 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm

State Senator Bill Wielechowski Anchorage is calling upon Governor Sean Parnell and Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell to extend the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery for at least one week to give families throughout Southcentral Alaska more opportunity to harvest fish for the year ahead.


The Anchorage Democrat said that it’s been a dismal year for Alaskans who rely on the Kenai personal use fishery to fill their freezers, claiming that tens of thousands of Alaskans traveled to the Kenai with their dipnets and came back with almost nothing to show for it.

In Wielechowski’s mind they’re angry and frustrated, and he says rightly so.


The fishery began July 10 and is scheduled to close tonight at midnight.  About 33,000 permits are issued annually for the fishery. Last year about half a million sockeye were harvested.   The harvest this year is not known yet, but some Alaskans expect it will be far lower.


Wielechowski  noted that in 2006, the Commissioner of Fish and Game extended the fishery when the run was late and many Alaskans didn’t get the fish they need, he says the same thing needs to happen this year.”


Wielechowski noted that roughly 35 percent of this year’s sockeye run surged up the river over three days mid-week, when most Alaskans were busy working, leaving weekend fishermen empty-handed.  It also appears, based on historical trends, that a second large wave of sockeye have not yet made it to the Kenai River.  Based on sonar counts of more than 1.2 million fish, the biological escapement goal set by Fish and Game has already been met, meaning there are excess fish to harvest.

There are plenty of fish left for all Alaskans to share, according to Wielechowski . There have been numerous emergency openers for the commercial fleet to help manage the escapement levels, and as a matter of fairness and biological necessity, Wielechowski says the Parnell Administration should take immediate action to ensure that ALL Alaskans who simply want fish to eat get their fair share.

** Comments on this story do not represent the thoughts and / or opinions of KSRM Radio Group, Staff, Management or Sponsors. **

5 Comments to “Anchorage Senator Calling to Extend Dipnet Fishery”

  • AK says:

    Thousands travel to the kenai and make it impossible for us locals! Why can’t we get special treatment? If they extend it it will just ruin what’s left of our summer accommodating the jacks from anch!

  • Rev. Fr. Tim H. Tolar says:

    I am sure Senator Wielechowski means well with his request to Governor Parnell and Commissioner Campbell to extend the Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery, but I fear he is ill informed regarding the dynamics, biology, economics, etc of the Kenai River and Upper Cook Inlet Central District Salmon Fisheries. While the Drift Fleet has been given a limited number of emergency orders those orders have restricted them to the Kasilof-Kenai Expanded Corridor where there are limited numbers of fish at best while the Dipnet Fishery has fished seven days a week in the fish rich environment of the Kenai River. This has resulted in the reality that a number of dipnet boats actually landed more sockeye than a number of commercial boats on any given day. Additionally the processors on the Kenai River have suffered due to having to pay, house, and feed processing line crews while not receiving adequate numbers of fish to run their lines effectively from the combined catches of the highly restricted efforts of the drift fleet and setnet sites. If special action is justified it is more appropriately aimed at salvaging the commercial season that the entire Kenai Peninsula depends on for year round tax base, retail sales, etc.

    soli Deo gloria,

    Rev. Tim H. Tolar
    Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America
    Pastor, Saint Luke Lutheran (UAC) – Kenai, Nikiski, Homer, & Fairbanks AK
    Chaplain/Firefighter/EMT, Nikiski Fire Department – Nikiski, AK
    Captain, F/V ICHTHUS – Kenai, AK

  • steve vanek says:

    You have it so right Rev. Tolar. We have had extra fishing days that were restricted. We were allowed to fish where there were no fish. That is like telling the dip netters to dip net in Anchor River for sockeye. In fact extend the dip netting into September in the Anchor River and then we can all say, “Well look how many extra days the dip netters had.”

  • OK Simpson says:

    Really? How is it that the drifters say they haven’t gotten, yet in a news story reported here yesterday, Snug Harbor Seafoods reported RECORD CATCH? It looks like someone’s lying.

  • FLBicyclist says:

    Apparently Paul Dale always says there is a record number of fish….

    Jul 27, 2011 – Fish processors report record-setting amounts of sockeye flooding into their … to be ready,” said Paul Dale, owner of Snug Harbor Seafoods

    Jul 19, 2012 – Paul Dale, President of Snug Harbor Seafoods say they may see overwhelming numbers of fish come in as drift netters catch record harvests