John Hakla from Eagle River heads back into the water while dip netting on the North Kenai Beach on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

John Hakla from Eagle River heads back into the water while dip netting on the North Kenai Beach on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai supports dipnet permit fee

The bill would establish a $5 fee for the Cook Inlet personal use fishing permit.

The city of Kenai put its support behind a state bill looking to establish a fee for personal use dipnetting permits.

The Kenai City Council unanimously passed a resolution to support Senate Bill 232 at their March 4 meeting.

The Kenai River personal use fishery is one of most popular fisheries in the state, taking place at the mouth of the Kenai River inside the city of Kenai. Since 1996, the city has provided parking areas, launch ramp and docking facilities, restroom facilities, fish waste and garbage management, beach raking and cleanup, camping, law enforcement and emergency services for Alaskans who descend on the mouth of the Kenai every summer.

Council member Robert Peterkin sponsored the resolution. He said he feels the bill is important for the community.

“I don’t feel that the dipnetting operation should fall on the residents of the city of Kenai residents to support it,” Peterkin said at the March 4 city council meeting. “This is the first step in trying to get some help with the revenue on this.”

Council member Henry Knackstedt said at the meeting that the dipnet fishery has been an “unfunded mandate on the city of Kenai.”

Knackstedt said the city has a budget and a process to deal with the dipnet fishery, however, some years it costs more to run than it brings in.

“We went under almost $100,000, $90,000, two years ago. Every year it’s a bit of a crapshoot, you know? What’s the fishery going to do? My opinion in general has been the state should have been paying their share of the things we’ve had to do down there all along. I think it’s about time.”

Fish waste and damage to the local environment were “jeopardizing the health and safety” of dipnetters, prior to the city’s current management process, the resolution said.

Sen. Peter Micciche, R-Kenai/Soldotna, is sponsoring SB 232. In his sponsor statement, he said the bill is aiming to address the dipnetting impacts faced by communities in Cook Inlet.

“The beaches near the mouths of effected rivers are often treated as trash receptacles with sometimes little regard for the local communities,” Micciche said in his sponsor statement. “As an example, since nearly inception, the dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River has been a burden on the City of Kenai.”

While the influx of “dippers” brings in revenue to local businesses, the city of Kenai has also had to increase public safety and public works personnel with no financial assistance, Micciche’s sponsor statement said.

The bill would establish a $5 fee for the Cook Inlet personal use fishing permit, and would be collected and split between communities where personal use fisheries take place. The remainder would stay in the general fund for state-provided services and infrastructure, the sponsor statement said.

“In areas outside municipal boundaries, these funds could help cover additional costs for infrastructure, boat launches, restrooms, law enforcement and waste management,” the sponsor statement said.

Micciche said in his statement that the fee would help offset some of the burden created by the state’s dipnet fishery, while also providing opportunities to improve the dipnetting experience.

“Many might ask why a community should receive money when the resource (fish) belongs to all Alaskans,” Micciche said in his sponsor statement. “The answer is simple, when any community sees the influx of throngs of people that Kenai, for instance, sees during the short dipnet fishery season, the burden on city services is dramatically increased.”

Over the last three years, the city has streamlined its process and reduced the cost to take care of the fishery by more than $150,000, the resolution said.

“Even with the reduction in expenditures, due to unpredictable runs and in participation over the last four years, the fees collected to support the fishery are not sufficient to cover the costs that the City incurs,” the resolution said.

The state manages similar fisheries in the Upper Cook Inlet area, including the Kasilof River and Fish Creek.

Copies of the resolution will be sent to Gov. Mike Dunleavy; Sen. Micciche; Sen. Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; Rep. Gary Knopp, R-Kenai/Soldotna; Rep. Ben Carpenter R-Nikiski; Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, and Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer.

More in News

Elementary school students line up to touch a salmon during the annual egg take demonstration at the Anchor River on Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Anchor Point, Alaska. Students leave the egg take event with fertilized salmon eggs to raise into fry throughout the year through the Salmon in the Classroom project hosted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Sport Fish Division. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News file)
Kids to get close-up look at fish life cycle

Alaska Department of Fish and Game representatives will conduct presentations at coho salmon egg takes

Fat Bear Week bracket (Photo courtesy Katmai National Park & Preserve)
Fat bears face off

Voters decide on the heftiest Katmai brown bear

Voting booths are set up at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Unofficial results: school bond, field house OK’d

Incumbents also came out ahead in preliminary results

Spencer McLean and his daughter, Emma McLean, show their support for Proposition 3, through which a new CES Station 1 would be constructed in Soldotna, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Blustery weather, average turnout mark municipal election day

Up for consideration this year were city council, board of education and assembly seats, as well as a handful of propositions affecting borough schools, emergency services and legislative representation

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander sits inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Ostrander to leave City of Kenai in January

Ostrander has served as the city manager since 2017

Melanie Hardin, right, greets the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp.’s Board of Trustees before her interview for the APFC’s executive director’s job Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in Juneau, (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Permanent Fund board picks new executive director

Trustees work overtime selecting from three candidates after interviews Monday

A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
A sign welcoming visitors to the Literary Haunted House at the Kenai Community Library can be seen here on Oct. 30, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion file)
Libraries host haunted houses, scary storytimes, seasonal crafts

It’s all about Halloween at Kenai and Soldotna libraries

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Most Read