Storyknife, March/April 2024 edition

Fed up with salmon bycatch and reduced opportunities for subsistence fishing?

In April, governing bodies are considering two actions:

  • Adding subsistence user representation on the Federal Subsistence Board
  • Capping chum salmon bycatch by Alaska’s pollock trawling fleet

Calista strongly supports increased representation by subsistence users in federal decision making that affects our food and our way of life. We encourage Shareholders to provide their input as well.

Federal Subsistence Board

Did you know five of the eight members of the Federal Subsistence Board, which manages subsistence harvesting on federal lands and waters in Alaska, are agency personnel based in urban areas?

After consultation with Tribes, Native Corporations and others, the federal departments of the Interior and Agriculture have published a set of proposed rules to increase representation from qualified subsistence users.

The key changes are to:

  • Add three public members nominated or recommended by Tribes who possess personal knowledge of and direct experience with subsistence uses in rural Alaska, including Alaska Native subsistence uses
  • Require the chair of the Board to have personal knowledge of and experience with rural subsistence uses

Calista Shareholders can submit comments on this proposal by going to and searching for the docket number “FWS–R7–SM–2024–0017.” Once there you will see a “Proposed Rule” box where you can submit a comment online.

You can also submit a comment by U.S. mail or hand delivery:

Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS R7–SM–2024–0017

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041–3803

Comments must be received or postmarked by April 26, 2024.

Chum Bycatch Cap

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in April to evaluate options to reduce the bycatch of western Alaska chum salmon in the Bering Sea pollock fisheries.

While the trawl catches are increasing, wasting thousands of chum salmon, subsistence salmon fishing has ground nearly to a halt. So far, the council has rejected proposals to limit bycatch from Artic-Yukon-Kuskokwim subsistence users.

However, at its April 4-9 meeting in Anchorage, the council will consider potential caps on bycatch ranging from 200,000 to 550,000 total chum, as well as other measures to limit bycatch when chum are on the trawling grounds.

The council is taking oral testimony during the April meeting, which will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Anchorage, teleconferenced and streamed on Zoom. The council will conduct “initial review” of the caps at the April meeting and a decision is expected by December 2024.

More Representation Needed

Over the past year, the state and federal government have appointed more rural Alaskans to advisory bodies that provide recommendations to Alaska’s fishery managers.

That’s a good start, but it is also important to have a seat at the table where decisions are made.

To that end, Calista is advocating for increased subsistence or Tribal representation on the Alaska Board of Fisheries, the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’ Yukon and Kuskokwim River panels.