After 30 years of waiting and conserving, residents of the Yukon Kuskokwim Delta will be able to hunt emperor geese again next month. Wildlife managers and hunters are standing by for the federal government to release the official notice. Then residents will continue a tradition that’s skipped a generation.
The Association of Village Council Presidents begins a co-management meeting today, March 20, in Bethel to discuss the upcoming harvest season for ducks and geese. Along with more than a dozen community representatives, biologists and managers from the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge will be here to put together recommendations for the Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council.
The State Department of Fish and Game has announced its estimate for the Kuskokwim River Chinook Salmon run, and the Akiak Native Community has petitioned for a federal takeover of the river's fishery of not only kings, but also reds, chums and silvers. A press release from the state projects a Kuskokwim king run of between 132.000 and 220,000 fish and says that there "may be enough Chinook salmon to provide for escapement" because the average subsistence take is 84,000 and the escapement goal is from 65,000 to 120,000 fish.
The statewide study of king salmon decline has not yielded any definitive conclusions. The results of the three-year study of the incidental catch of Chinooks showing up in the state's commercial salmon fisheries ended with no real information about kings headed into the Bering Sea.
Instead of eating musk ox, a Bethel resident is headed to court. Peter A. Webber shot a bull musk ox when he had a permit only to shoot a cow. Alaska Wildlife Troopers cited the 35-year-old for taking a bull musk ox in the Game Management Unit 18 Nelson Island Registration Hunt. Webber, who came forward and reported the mistake, is summoned to the Bethel District Court on March 20. The carcass was donated to charity.
There may be fewer King Salmon on the Kuskokwim River this summer than hoped, and some residents want to meet with state biologists now to figure out how best to manage both expectations and the fishery.