Wednesday May 24, 2023

Alaska Public Media

Alaska’s subsistence fishing advocates want to change the nation’s primary fishing law to crack down on the accidental catch of salmon by the Bering Sea trawl fleet. Changing the law is looking increasingly unlikely, but there might be another way.

Congresswoman Mary Peltola focused on revising the Magnuson-Stevens Act since the start of her campaign. But she said it’s not in the cards now.

“I think everybody recognizes that there’s a very slim chance that Magnuson-Stevens will be authorized this year” or next, Peltola said in a recent video call arranged by a public affairs firm called Ocean Strategies.

Rather than change the law, the new strategy is to change a set of guidelines for the law that’s already on the books.

It’s a fallback position. It’s not likely to yield quick results. But this year is shaping up to be another grim one for chinook and chum runs on the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers.  Peltola and other salmon advocates say it’s important to take some kind of action now to preserve the possibility of a return to salmon abundance.

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