During my quest to learn more about how Mat-Su Valley fisheries are managed, I’ve come across a few good reads that Mat-Su sport anglers may find interesting. As usual, they include a lot of finger pointing.
It’s the Sport Angler’s Fault
The first is Little Susitna River Salmon History from 1886 to 2012, produced by Roland Maw, PhD, United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA) Executive Director and Audrey Salmon, UCIDA Office Manager, in 2013.
In this report, UCIDA lays out its argument for why coho salmon runs have declined in the Little Su, including laying blame on in-river users (sport anglers) for over harvesting the resource.
It’s the Pike’s Fault
Two years later, Erik Huebsch, Vice President of the UCIDA, wrote an opinion piece for The Frontiersman titled A Brief History of Susitna Salmon. Huebsch claims “Until ADF&G, the Board of Fisheries and the Mat-Su Borough start eradicating the pike infestation in a significant way the salmon runs in the Mat-Su Basin will never recover.”
It’s ADF&G’s Fault
After Sport fishing guide, Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission member, and Frontiersman columnist, Andy Couch, wrote a column titled Mismanagement Jeopardizes Cook Inlet coho Escapements and User Opportunities.
In his column, Couch writes that the ADF&G department, managers, and commissioner “shoulder the responsibility for passing adequate escapements of Northern District salmon to provide reasonable sport and fishing opportunities in the Northern District drainages in addition to spawning escapement needs. This is a responsibility that the manager/commissioner/department, for the most part, seem to be ignoring.”
Next week the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission will be hosting a roundtable discussion with ADF&G Commission Sam Cotten and fish managers to discuss recent management decisions leading to the harvest of over 80,000 coho salmon headed to upper Cook Inlet river on July 31 and Aug 3. I anticipate many of the points made by UCIDA and Couch will be discussed during the roundtable and mentioned during public testimony, which is limited to three minutes per person. I encourage all Mat-Su sport anglers to attend the meeting.
Matanuska-Susitna Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting with ADF&G Commissioner Cotten and managers
Tuesday, August 22 from 5pm – 7pm
Mat-Su Borough Assembly Chambers, 350 E. Dahlia Ave, Palmer