Subsistence markers to be put up in Danger Bay, closing specific section to all subsistence fishing

An important spawning area for salmon outside of the mouths of Danger and Cold creeks on Afognak Island will be closed to subsistence fishing. The Board of Fisheries announced its decision to put up subsistence markers at the head of Danger Bay during their finfish meeting in Kodiak last week, January 9th – 12th.

Proposal 58, brought forward by longtime Kodiak fisherman Andy Christofferson, was the only subsistence related proposal on the Board’s agenda.
Christofferson says the aim is to protect the coho/silver salmon population for all fishers – sport and subsistence.

“The concern is if we don’t put up subsistence markers, a person or persons will be able to fish up to the mouth of a stream and eventually wipe out a coho run that would be nonexistent for future user groups,” Christofferson explained.

Initially the Native Village of Ouzinkie opposed the closure, based on how it would negatively impact subsistence users in the village, but later rescinded its opposition.
The Native Village issued a statement rescinding their opposition, saying: “The Native Village of Ouzinkie, having received important contextual information regarding Proposal 58, wishes to withdraw our objection to this proposal with the caveat that we feel, as always, that traditional subsistence use must remain a priority.”

Map of subsistence closure area, shaded in dark grey/black.
Image provided by Alaska Department of Fish & Game through Board of Fisheries documents (01.12.2024)

The Kodiak Advisory Committee (AC) voted 12 to 1 in favor of Proposal 58, saying the closure would allow more fish to successfully spawn and having subsistence markers would still leave ample opportunity for harvest in Danger Bay.

Board of Fisheries members tended to agree, but in order to make it easier for wildlife enforcement and the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the Board amended the proposal to include two specific points of latitude and longitude as boundaries.

“And so I spent some time talking to the regulation specialist and department staff about the easiest way to do that,” Board Member Mӓrit Carlson-Van Dort said. “There are a couple of species that go up there [Danger Bay], pink salmon and coho. So this removes all subsistence gear in that very small section.”

All subsistence fishing, which mainly involves gillnets or seines, will be prohibited within the Northeast Arm of Kazakof Bay, also known as Danger Bay north and east of a line bound by a point on the west shore at 58° 12.55′ N. lat., 152° 34.30′ W. long., and a point on the east shore at 58° 12.47′ N. lat., 152° 33.93′ W. long.
However, sport fishing, which mainly involves rod and reel, will be allowed in that same area.

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