Ninilchik Traditional Council sues for speedy approval of Kenai River gillnet

  • By DJ SUMMERS
  • Thursday, July 14, 2016 9:07pm
  • News

As part of an ongoing lawsuit against the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, Ninilchik Traditional Council is asking that the authorities give it a community subsistence sockeye salmon gillnet permit before the sockeye runs peaks.

NTC filed for a preliminary injunction on shortened time on July 13.

The group said it is necessary to have an approved license in the next few weeks, as the sockeye run on the Kenai River will peak soon.

“Prime fishing time for Kenai sockeye salmon is this week and next week, with the run steadily falling off after that time,” reads the motion. “The season will be a total loss if NTC waits to seek relief from this court after the July 28 FSB meeting. By the time there is a ruling, a permit issued, and the net, crew and fishing site set up, there will likely be only a few days left in the season occurring after the chinook have completed their run and on the tail end of the sockeye run.”

The Federal Subsistence Board allowed a subsistence gillnet for sockeye salmon in the Kenai River for NTC in January 2015 despite conservation concerns for king salmon and Dolly Varden trout, but denied the group the permit during the salmon season.

State and federal biologists opposed the idea of the gillnet, and other Tribal groups from the same area have done the same, arguing that a subsistence gillnet for NTC would not be equitable to other groups.

NTC’s plan for a sockeye gillnet on the Kenai River was denied last year by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service management, leading to the lawsuit. NTC filed their legal complaint after the Federal Subsistence Board turned down a special request that would have forced the service to issue the permit.

This year, NTC has filed yet another special request for the same purpose to be heard on June 28. The Federal Subsistence Board instead scheduled the request for the July 26-28 board meeting, which NTC said would make the purpose moot.

“NTC cannot wait and pin its hopes on a favorable FSB decision ordering a permit to be issued for the fishery after its meeting concludes on July 28.”

This year, conservation may not be as much of a concern. Managers of the state’s most popular river are expanding opportunities for both recreational and commercial fishermen.

An improving run of king salmon on the Kenai River has prompted fisheries managers to loosen the lynchpin of the area’s commercial sockeye management, which ties king sport fishing to commercial sockeye. Bait is now allowed for king sport fishermen on the river, and commercial openings are expanding for what is an above-average forecast of sockeye salmon.

DJ Summers can be reached at daniel.summers@alaskajournal.com.

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Supreme Court rules against forward funding for education, confirms limit on legislative power

Setting multi-year budgets in Alaska requires cash on hand, justices said

Sarah Palin speaks at a July 11 Save America Rally featuring former President Donald Trump at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
What to watch: Cheney in trouble; Palin eyes comeback

Sarah Palin jumped on a vacancy in the state’s congressional delegation as a potential springboard back into elected office

Assembly members participate during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to revisit gravel pit legislation

A proposed ordinance would overhaul borough code addressing material site permits

Campaign signs decorate the outside of Paradisos Restaurant on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Election 2022: Where, how, when to vote

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday

As measured by the CDC, dispensing rate reflects the number of prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons per year. While the United States’ dispensing rate peaked at 81.3 in 2012, the Kenai Peninsula’s rate was 100 or higher every year between 2001 and 2015. Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara.
Borough creates grant program to distribute opioid settlement funds

The Kenai Peninsula Borough will offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in… Continue reading

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer speaks during a press conference announcing the administration’s push for changes to the state’s election system on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, State of Alaska)
Just 2 Alaska lieutenant governor candidates say 2020 presidential vote was fair

Alaska’s lieutenant governor will oversee the 2024 presidential election

Kenai Peninsula School District Superintendent Clayton Holland stand near the entrance to the district’s Soldotna offices on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Academics, staff recruitment among district priorities for upcoming school year

The superintendent is ready to see KPBSD return to the district’s pre-COVID-19 academic performance

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Personal use harvest reports due Monday

Northern Kenai fishing report

Evelyn Cooley competes in the barrel race at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Aug. 12, 2022, in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Music, magic, daredevils and pigs

Kenai Peninsula Fair brings an assortment of activities to Ninilchik

Most Read