Pacific Salmon: Ecology and Management of Western Alaska’s Populations

Perspectives on Angling for Salmon on the Kuskokwim River: the Catch and Release Sport Fishing Controversy

LaMont E. Albertson


Abstract.—Local resident concern over catch-and-release fishing varies among the residents living within the Kuskokwim River drainage. In the mid-river region near the village of Aniak, a tolerance exists, and sometimes even participation occurs, among the residents regarding the practice. However, in the areas downstream from Aniak, near Kwethluk and Bethel, local residents often express concern over the practice and refer to it as “playing with food.” Based on over thirty years as a resident and from my perspective, the concerns by residents over the catch-and-release fishing are changing towards greater acceptance than in the past. This trend will continue if (1) fishery managers recognize that subsistence uses should always be afforded a priority over other fisheries, (2) our local resident advisory group is provided the opportunity to discuss with managers and advise on sport fishing regulations, and (3) an active educational effort is made for all ages regarding ecology, conservation, and fishery management, including how catch-and-release fishing might play a supportive role.