Matanuska-Susitna Borough

Board of Fisheries

Seasonal Weight Restrictions

UPDATED MAY 13th - Effective Monday May 18, 2020 weight restrictions for most MSB roads in the core area will be 100% legal axle load - NO OVERLOADS

COVID-19 Measures at the Landfill and Transfer Sites

All Solid Waste Facility regular schedules remain in effect. Please use a credit card if possible to reduce potential for virus transfer. If cash is used, please try to pay exact amount due to reduce potential for virus transfer. Lastly, please do not cough or sneeze towards the pay window.

Scope

The MSB Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) had five proposals before the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) for consideration at their February 7-17 Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting at the Egan Center in Anchorage. These proposals were designed to return more salmon to MSB waters.  You can read more about the proposals by clicking on them to the right.

To support the MSB Fish and Wildlife Commission proposals, the commission has produced It Takes Fish to Make Fish booklet.  The booklet provides pertinent data that supports the proposals that are being presented to the BOF by the MSB FWC.  Please take the time to review the booklet by clicking on it at the right.

MSB staff developed a GIS story map that details our issues, as well as summaries our successes at the 2020 BOF meeting: http://www.matsugov.us/bof

 

Project Benefits

The FWC proposals submitted to the BOF for consideration were designed to increase salmon returns and the benefits they bring to the Mat-Su economy and residents.

Mission:

  • MSB Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC), a public commission formed in 2007.
  • FWC represents the public interest and the Borough in the conservation and allocation of fish, wildlife, and habitat.
  • The FWC works to advocate for salmon returns to Mat-Su streams for the benefit of residents and visitors.

What:

The FWC had five proposals before the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) for consideration at their February 7-19 Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting at the Egan Center in Anchorage. These proposals are designed to return more salmon to MSB waters, You can read more about the proposals here:

  • Proposal 133: Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan.
  • Proposal 199: Northern District King Salmon Management Plan.
  • Proposal 215: Create a Susitna and Yentna Rivers King Salmon Fishery Mgmt. Plan.
  • Proposal 217: Create a Deshka River King Salmon Fishery Mgmt. Plan.
  • Proposal 219: Create a Little Susitna River King Salmon Fishery Mgmt. Plan.

Why:

  • Salmon fishing in the Mat-Su has long been a popular and important activity enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
  • Recent economic studies show that salmon fishing in the Mat-Su has a huge economic impact, but angler effort and economic impact has been declining as salmon returns to local streams have declined.
  • The FWC proposals submitted to the BOF for consideration, especially Proposal 133, are designed to increase salmon returns and the benefits they bring to the Mat-Su economy and residents.

What you can do?

Educate yourself on Mat-Su fisheries:

1. Thank you to those who testified and/or submitted public comments on behalf of Mat-Su proposals - it made a difference.

2. View the BOF story map MSB staff created to learn more about what we proposed, and the results acheived at the BOF meeting: http://www.matsugov.us/bof

3. Visit the MSB "fish hub" web page for our clearinghouse on fisheries: http://www.matsugov.us/fishhub

Project Status

Successful Board of Fisheries cycle. Thank you to all who participated and testified!

2020 BOF Goals and Results of BOF Meeting

MSB FWC Goals/Proposals for the 2020 BOF meeting:

1) Expand protections for northern bound salmon while affording commercial fisheries opportunity to harvest surplus Sockeye Salmon.

a. Strengthen the Conservation Corridor in the Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery Management Plan in July and early August (proposals 129, 133).

b. Establish a 2% rule move applicable date to July 31 (Proposal 195).

2) Maintain protections for identified Stocks of Concern – particularly Susitna Sockeye.

a. Continue the use of terminal stock fishery management using the expanded harvest corridor (proposals 129, 133).

b. Raise in-river goals in Kenai late run Sockeye (proposal 88).

3) Increase in-river returns of Coho Salmon to Mat-Su river systems by establishing an orderly transition from Sockeye management to Coho management.

a. Establish an end date for the Central District Drift Gillnet Fishery by use of the 2% rule and with no provision for continued commercial fishing in areas 3 and 4 (proposals 133,195) and move the effective date up from August 7 to July 31.

b. Strengthen Coho preamble language in draft plan and late run Kenai River Sockeye Salmon management plans (proposal 127).

4) Adopt Chinook (King Salmon) management plans and strategies that address early run King Salmon in the Northern District to provide predictable and transparent management action (proposals 199, 214, 215, 217, 219).

5) Personal Use Fishery: Create a personal use fishery in the Susitna River to extend personal use fishing opportunity for Alaskan residents in the Northern District who choose to harvest salmon with net gear (proposal 234 - amended).

Results/Goal Achievement:

1) Expand protections for northern bound salmon while affording commercial fisheries opportunity to harvest surplus Sockeye Salmon.

This goal was fully met. Passage of FWC proposal 133 (6 to 1) eliminates one district wide commercial opening in July at middle tier and puts commercial drift fishermen in the expanded terminal harvest area for all of August as opposed to a district wide Coho fishery. Additionally, 133 limits drift gillnet fishing during the first two weeks of August so the drift gillnet fishery is now restricted to the expanded terminal harvest area. Fishing may resume in this area (district 3) after the rest of the inlet is closed by the 1% rule.

Passage of Proposal 133 will keep the commercial drift fleet out of the Conservation Corridor and establishes a terminal fisheries management strategy that will provide immediate and significant protections for salmon destined to the Northern District.

In addition, MSBFWC proposal 195 amended (proposal 192 amended) makes the 1 percent rule become effective on July 31 instead of August 7th and will have positive effects for Mat-Su fisheries.

Additionally, and very significantly, was the ADFG Commissioner’s clarification of how and when the Department will calculate the 1% rule; it will be applied to any and all periods, regardless of where the fishery were permitted to take place. Action was passed 5 to 2.

Increasing the late-run Sockeye goal in the Kenai River as part of KRSA proposal 88, will also have positive benefits for Northern District stocks, in as much as it will necessarily reduce the need to aggressively commercially fish the Sockeye run. Proposal 88 passed 5-2.

With the collective emphasis on terminal stock fisheries management for Kasilof and Kenai sockeye, it is fair to say that Northern bound salmon stocks now enjoy the most conservative set of regulations applied in decades.

2) Maintain protections for identified Stocks of Concern – particularly Susitna Sockeye

This goal was met. Following robust discussion of the status of stocks of concern in the Northern District and the conclusion that the yield stock of concern for Susitna Sockeye was no longer applicable, there was agreement that the Board would maintain a conservative strategy and avoid any significant increases in directed harvest. This position was leveraged to help with passage of 133 and the increases to late run Sockeye goals in the Kenai River and was used to defeat numerous commercial fishing expansion proposals, therefore maintaining protections.

3) Increase in-river returns of Coho Salmon to Mat-Su river systems by establishing an orderly transition from Sockeye management to Coho management.

This goal was met. Perhaps the most noticeable thing coming out of this meeting will be the increase in Coho that will be returning to the Mat Su. Proposals 133 and 195 (amended in 192), in combination, will result in measurable improvements to the Coho Salmon return to the Mat Su, clarifing the use of the one-percent rule as part of the orderly transition of the Sockeye management to Coho management. It is our expectation that sport fisheries that have previously been restricted will see improvement and provide for increased opportunity. The FWC efforts are to be credited for the significant increase in local commerce that will be realized by an improved level of sport fishing opportunity in the Mat-Su.

4) Adopt Chinook (King Salmon) management plans and strategies that address early run King Salmon in the Northern District and provide predictable and transparent management action (proposals 199, 214, 215, 217, 219)

This goal was met. The approach we used to meet this goal was to work with ADFG staff to produce alternative language in the form of RC 156, as proposal 217. This was a combined proposal that melded multiple proposals into a concise action that addressed Susitna River and Little Susitna River King Salmon, and establishing a King Salmon OEG from 16.000 to 22,000 for the Yentna River. Passed 7 - 0.

5) Personal Use Fishery: Create a personal use fishery in the Susitna River to extend personal use fishing opportunity for Alaskan residents of the Northern District who choose to harvest salmon with net gear. Proposal 234 (amended)

This goal was met fully. The FWC took a lead role in developing and refining proposal 234 to create a viable yet limited personal use fishery as seen by RC 132.

The significance of this action is that Alaskan residents have for the first time an opportunity to participate in a personal use fishery in the Susitna River drainage. The fishery would be open from July 10 to July 31 on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For residents of the Mat-Su this places the opportunity to harvest salmon, except Kings, for personal consumption without having to drive hundreds of miles. Proposal 234 passed 5 -2.

Implications and Expectations

In short, the BOF actions taken at the Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting in Anchorage will increase returns of salmon to the Mat-Su during the 2020 fishing season and beyond. With increased salmon returns, fishing effort will increase with associated positive inputs to local commerce and economies.

1% Rule

• The 1% rules were designed for both the UCI drift and setnet fisheries to close them in August when less than 1% of the total UCI commercial fish harvest of Sockeye is harvested in two consecutive commercial fish openings.

• The 1% rule is the very definition of an orderly, predictable transition between fisheries as mandated in the Sustainable Salmon Policy of Alaska between commercial fisheries that target their money fish - Sockeye Salmon - and the sport fishery that targets Coho Salmon in August.

Helpful Websites

STOCKS OF CONCERN

SALMON ESCAPEMENT GOALS

Our BOF Mission & Results

Contacts

Ted Eischeid, Planner II

907-861-8606

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