(Anchorage) — With salmon arriving now in many Alaska fisheries, anglers and dipnetters are reminded to take care to dispose of fish waste properly. Discarding fish waste on public or private property or along roads, pull-offs, and trails can attract bears into residential areas and result in fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.
In Anchorage, where some 300,000 people live in close proximity to bears, fish waste is illegally discarded each summer in vacant lots, greenbelts, and along city streams and lakeshores. Anchorage area wildlife biologist Dave Battle believes many people who dump fish waste don’t realize the danger they create for others.
“Fish attract bears,” said Battle, “and brown bears, particularly, may aggressively defend those food sources.”
The problem isn’t limited to Anchorage. Illegally discarded fish waste also sets the stage for human-bear conflicts in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and on the Kenai Peninsula. Illegal dumping is prohibited under Alaska’s littering laws.
Anglers and dipnetters who clean fish on site are encouraged to chop carcasses into numerous pieces and throw them into fast-moving water. Those who remove fish from the fishing site and fillet or process them elsewhere should consider the following recommendations: