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Lisa Demer

ALONG KUSKOKUAK SLOUGH -- On a sunny summer day, the quiet peace of a remote fish camp on a slow-moving branch of the Kuskokwim River became a crazy-busy place of heading and gutting, cutting and hanging...

Bob Hallinen,Lisa Demer
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ALONG KUSKOKUAK SLOUGH -- On a sunny summer day, the quiet peace of a remote fish camp on a slow-moving branch of the Kuskokwim River became a crazy-busy place of heading and gutting, cutting and hanging...

Bob Hallinen,Lisa Demer

ALONG KUSKOKUAK SLOUGH -- On a sunny summer day, the quiet peace of a remote fish camp on a slow-moving branch of the Kuskokwim River became a crazy-busy place of heading and gutting, cutting and hanging.

The salmon were running, and Bethel elders Roy and Ida Alexie, along with daughters, grandkids and extended family, were catching them.

“I’ll take the heart!” 6-year-old Alyssa “Frankie” Wassillie called out as her mom -- one of Ida’s many nieces -- guided an ulu through the crunch of salmon bone and flesh...

Lisa Demer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said it intends to take extraordinary action to protect Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon runs and unparalleled natural habitat from destruction by the proposed Pebble mine. But the agency is stopping short of blocking the mine outright and instead is proposing caps on how many miles of streams and acres of wetlands could be lost.

The restrictions would prevent the mega-mine proposed by the Pebble Ltd. Partnership, an open pit for copper and gold extraction that EPA says would be nearly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Even a much smaller one wouldn’t be allowed under the proposal. But mine operators could scale back and design a less destructive mine, EPA said...

Lisa Demer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said it intends to impose strict restrictions on the proposed Pebble mine to protect Bristol Bay’s world-class salmon runs but is stopping short of blocking it outright.

EPA’s work on Pebble already is the subject of a federal lawsuit, a watchdog agency review and much criticism from Republican political leaders and mine operators.

But Dennis McLerran, administrator of EPA’s Seattle-based region 10, told reporters Friday that the action is necessary “to protect the world’s greatest salmon fishery from what would most certainly be one of the largest open pit mine developments ever conceived of.”...

Lisa Demer

State Rep. Chris Tuck, the minority leader of the Alaska House, will pay a fine of more than $14,000 for mismanaging campaign funds and forfeit nearly $6,000 in unspent campaign funds, under an agreement accepted this week by the Alaska Public Offices Commission.

Tuck, an Anchorage Democrat, mixed up his campaign and personal money, inadvertently used his campaign debit card for personal expenditures, and failed to accurately report campaign contributions and expenditures, according to the agreement Tuck signed in June...

Lisa Demer

A new Alaska law restricting state payments for abortions sought by women who receive Medicaid assistance was put on hold this week, one day before it was set to take effect.

Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest challenged the law, as well as a similar state regulation, in court earlier this year, arguing that both measures violate the constitutional rights of women seeking abortions.

On Tuesday, Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock agreed to put the law on hold until a trial set for February 2015. The law only allows state payments for abortions that meet a narrow definition of “medically necessary.”...

Lisa Demer

Saturday evening update:

Drift gillnet boats in upper Cook Inlet will get another opportunity to fish on Sunday (July 13), fishery managers announced Saturday evening. The opening in the Kasilof and Kenai sections will run from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Earlier story:

Setnetters — along with driftnetters — will get their chance Saturday to target Cook Inlet sockeyes, state fishery managers announced Saturday morning.

Both openings coincide with the first weekend of the hugely popular dipnet fishery at the mouth of the Kenai River...

Lisa Demer

Commercial driftnet fishermen -- but not setnet fishermen -- will get a chance Saturday to target Cook Inlet sockeyes, state fishery managers announced Friday evening.

The opening -- which coincides with the first weekend for the hugely popular Kenai dipnet fishery -- will begin at 7 a.m. and go through 7 p.m. Saturday, according to the announcement published at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Fishing will be allowed in areas on the east side of the Inlet a few miles offshore from the mouths of the Kenai and Kasilof rivers...

Lisa Demer

State fish biologists plan to meet Friday afternoon to assess whether to allow hundreds of Cook Inlet commercial setnetters to put out their nets Saturday for sockeyes, which would dramatically affect the chance for success this weekend by Kenai Peninsula dipnetters and sport fishermen.

There are about 450 registered setnetters in Upper Cook Inlet, on the east side of the Inlet, and if there's an opening, most will put their nets out, said Pat Shields, the Soldotna-based area fisheries management biologist.

When setnetters work the inlet, the number of reds heading into the Kenai and Kasilof rivers drops dramatically within a few hours, Shields said...

Lisa Demer

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