Stories & Life
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King Salmon Revolt in Western Alaska

Here in Alaska, the king salmon runs are low, forcing emergency fishing closures for commercial fishing, sport fishing, and perhaps most controversially, closures for subsistence fishing. Many villagers, mostly Alaskan natives, are defying the closure order and fishing anyway. Alaska State Troopers were sent in to seize fish and even to seize nets, leading to some very ugly YouTube footage of white troopers seizing the subsistence food of natives and other small villagers.

Fishing politics is extremely complex, and it is a very intense issue here in Alaska. I do know, however, that without government regulation, the fish would have been wiped out long ago. Commercial fisherman want longer openings and bigger catches, sport fisherman want access to rivers, and many natives and other villagers survive largely due to what they can fish from the waters. It’s difficult not to get the feeling that big money interests have encroached on the ability of subsistence fishing, and it is difficult for me to support the seizure of fish and nets of villagers. Frankly, I find it appalling.

Read more at Alaska Dispatch: State Officials Try to Contain Western Alaska Salmon Revolt

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Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 Comments

  1. Joy says

    I think if they stopped commercial and sport fishing but allowed the Native Alaskan fishermen to get what they need, they’d be better off. Otherwise it looks like our Native American thing all over again. White men come in and take away their only way of providing for their families. I say- it’s their land and their fish. I hope somebody wakes up and gets this so we don’t make the same mistake again!

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