"An Act relating to the Chitina dip net fishery; and providing for an effective date."
"...the vast majority of access to the river is public land, thus there is no reason for people to trespass on private lands to access the Chitina fisheries..."
- Rep. Coghill
House Bill 210 would eliminate the $25 fee for a Chitina Dipnetting Permit. In 2000 the legislature imposed the increased fee to guarantee access to the fishery by utilizing $18.00 per permit to pay to Ahtna and Chitina Corporations a trespassing fee for river access across their land.
Legislation promoted by Senator Pete Kelly provided funding to undertake a survey in 2001. In that same appropriation, money was allocated to publish a brochure and for DOTPF to go out and put up some signs to indicate where the public right-of-way does access the river and where private lands are.
The results of the survey indicate that the vast majority of access to the river is public land, thus there is no reason for people to trespass on private lands to access the Chitina fisheries. A key facet of this legislation is to make sure private properties are adequately marked to protect private property owners from trespasses.
In testimony last year, Gordy Williams, legislative liaison for Fish & Game, acknowledged that the Chitina dipnet fishery is the largest fishery in the state and that in 2001 the department issued over 8,000 household permits.
The elimination of the fee completely is a policy call that addresses Chitina being the only fishery in the state that has been singled out to pay a maintenance fee. Chitina should be maintained in the same manner as any other fishery in the state.