FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2016
Senator Wielechowski Calls for Suspension of Emergency Commercial Openers on Kenai and Kasilof Rivers
Personal use dipnetters losing critical opportunity to fill freezers this season
ANCHORAGE – Yesterday, Senator Bill Wielechowski (D-Anchorage) sent an urgent, time-sensitive letter to Commissioner Sam Cotten of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Responding to a large number of constituents expressing concern about the lack of salmon available for personal use dipnetting, Sen. Wielechowski has asked that emergency openers for commercial fishing be suspended for the next two weekends on the Kenai and Kasilof Rivers.
“We all understand and appreciate the importance of supporting commercial fishing as an economic driver to the state,” said Sen. Wielechowski, “but the truth is that those same salmon are critical for personal use dipnetting, which is how many Alaskan households supply their families with healthy, affordable wild fish to carry them through the winter.”
Sen. Wielechowski was spurred to write the letter after hearing from concerned Alaskans who have spent many hours traveling, and days on the river during one of the most important dipnetting weekends of the year, only to come up short while several emergency commercial openers were called, including one on Saturday. The suspension of commercial openers during the limited and critical times available to most Alaskans will allow them access to this vital resource.
For more information, please contact Jeanne Devon, Alaska Senate Democrats Press Secretary at (907) 269-0173.