ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Federal and state authorities emphatically denied claims by Southwest Alaska residents Thursday that officials were confiscating fish from subsistence fishing camps, as decreased salmon runs statewide have led to fishing bans deeply unpopular with rural Alaskans.
Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Tim DeSpain denied rumors that troopers were entering subsistence fish camps and taking fish, or seizing boats believed to be involved in illegal fishing.
"No, absolutely not,” DeSpain said. “Troopers are not going to people's fish camps and taking fish."
Alaska Department of Fish and Game spokesperson Nancy Long and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson Bruce Woods also denied that their agencies were seizing fish from camps.
A Thursday AST dispatch says troopers, along with Fish and Wildlife Service officials, issued 33 citations for illegal fishing on the lower Kuskokwim River Wednesday, seizing 21 nets and more than 1,100 pounds of salmon. Troopers described all contacts as "non-confrontational" and said the seized salmon were donated to charities.