After what may have seemed like a quiet winter and off-season, the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission convened in Bethel on May 11-12. This is only the second time all Tribes of the Kuskokwim, as many as could make it at least, gathered to discuss the role of the Commission and the management capabilities that it holds. Quietly, over the last several months, the Executive Council of the KRITFC (elected by fellow commissioners last May) have been putting together an MOU with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. After being approved by the Commission a small signing ceremony was held to commemorate the monumental step toward co-management of fisheries on the Kuskokwim. What does the MOU do exactly? In a nutshell, it formalizes a management partnership where the USFWS and the Federal in-season manager will consult with the Commission and incorporate their knowledge and strategies into decision-making. As it stands now the river is Federally managed from the mouth up to a boundary at Aniak. From Aniak to the Headwaters, the river is managed by the State. The Commission’s next step is to work out a similar agreement with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game. The Commission aims for a unified co-management system for the river and does not recognize the State/Federal boundary, having these agreements in place allows for that drainage wide approach. The KRITFC has made strides in the last year for giving Tribes a voice at the table and assuring that their leg of the management the stool is present, they are building a model for co-management.
The appointed commissioner for Georgetown is Jonathan Samuelson, if you have any questions or concerns he can be reached by email at email@example.com