Many of the nets seized during Kuskokwim subsistence fishing openings have been returned to their owners. Alaska Wildlife Troopers seized 18 nets during the June 8 opening. Troopers confiscated fewer nets during the June 12 opening. Most of the nets were returned before the subsistence opening on June 15.
Trooper Walter Blajeski reports that most of the seized nets measured two times or more the regulated length. Many of these nets have been returned so fishermen can continue subsisting for their families. The nets that remain in custody lack information identifying who owns them. Under regulation, gillnets must have an attached keg or buoy with the fisherman’s first initial, last name, and address written on it. Phone numbers are helpful, but not required.
People wanting to pick up their nets can call the Bethel Trooper Post at 907-543-2294 and ask to speak with a Wildlife Trooper.
Nets seized because of too-large mesh or for drifting during a set net opening are not available for pickup at this time. Fishermen cited during the openings are scheduled to appear in court June 17 and 24, 2019.
Fish confiscated with the nets are being donated to the Tundra Women’s Coalition and to a summer youth camp, which will then donate the fish to Elders. Sometimes fish are given to people who cannot fish for themselves.
Trooper Blajeski says that he has also seen children as young as four years old not wearing life jacket in open boats. He reminds families that Alaska law requires children under age 13 to wear life jackets while in open boats or on the deck of a ship. People over age 13 must have a lifejacket on board.