Early this morning I picked up a piece of news from the Anchorage Daily Newspaper that Sen. Al Kookesh will fight a fishing citation issued by an Alaska State Trooper wildlife officer, on Admiralty Island, Alaska...
Kookesh stated the citation and fine is beside the point of the issue. If Sen. Kookesh follows through with the fight against the citation, then a possible court case might result in a contemporary judicial interpretation or opinion regarding the “rural preference” for subsistence law in the state of Alaska.
From the Anchorage Daily News article:
Megan Peters, a troopers spokeswoman, told the Juneau Empire the party was in possession of 148 sockeye salmon taken with a beach seine net. Each man had a valid subsistence permit allowing them to collectively take a total of 75 sockeye, she said...
Kookesh has a different take. Nine people were at the fishing site, he said. Only four were cited. A 10th person with a permit for an additional 100 fish was delayed.
The net belonged to him, Kookesh said, but it takes seven or eight people to work it. Thirty-eight fish went to the Angoon senior center, he said, and the rest went to 12 different families.
"Every time it goes out it feeds 10 to 15 families," Kookesh said of his net.
I wish the article had a little bit more detail on what is meant between the state and federal management difference. It is an incredibly complicated issue that got reduced to a paragraph or two - though really this needs to be played out in a statewide discussion. A REAL discussion, not the sort of commercial, flier blitz that tends to happen with big issues like this.
Ironic that the fish was going to the same place whether it was the people getting it in the first place, or the fish cops bringing it to them - the Angoon Senior Center. I know of many subsistence nets like this, and fished on them myself this summer, and most of the fish went to elders first, and then various families.
The most frustrating part of all of it is the lopsided management that prevents fish getting to many, many elders and families, for the sake of...? what? Too many trials and studies in which subsistence rights were given up or taken away because that "must be" a big reason fisheries or environmental problems were happening find that is probably not the case. When subsistence was gone, the fisheries or environmental problems got worse or stayed the same. The beluga whale problem right here in Southcentral is a good example of that.