Kenai Learning Exchange

By Amy Lowndes

Nautilus staff recently visited Alaska’s fishing hotspot, the Kenai Peninsula, to learn more about the area’s unique cultural, ecological, and policy issues from Kenai River’s diverse salmon stakeholders. The Kenai Peninsula is home to a wealth of salmon runs that support world-class sportfish and commercial fishing industries, several personal use fisheries, and an Educational Fishery set net belonging to the Kenaitze Indian Tribe.

Nautilus’ Salmon and Communications Policy Intern Amy Lowndes, First Alaskans Institute Policy Intern Megan Warren and Nautilus’ Sarah Warnock met with Jack Sinclair, President of the Kenai Watershed Forum; Ricky Gease, Executive Director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (also an AK Humanities Forum Salmon Fellow, another Nautilus program partner program), and with members of the Kenaitze Indian Tribe who guided us around their educational fishery and smokehouse. Download the Trip Report

Kenai Watershed Program’s Streamwatch volunteers place temporary fencing to protect and restore river banks


Kenai River Sportfishing Association director Ricky Gease reviews salmon data with interns Amy Lowndes and Megan Warren

The Kenaitze Tribe operates an educational fishery–a year-round set net that keeps people connected to their culture through salmon


Hauling in the set net on the mouth of the Kenai

Alaska’s seafood industry creates nearly 100,000 jobs and $13 billion in economic output (AK Seafood Impacts ASMI 2017). The sustainability of the Alaska salmon system depends on the long-term maintenance of a connection to people, which is threatened by both biological and social shifts. Nautilus’ partner project, The State of Alaska’s Salmon and People, brings together more than 100 people from diverse salmon backgrounds to gather, synthesize and share cross-disciplinary information about salmon with the goal to create more equitable and sustainable salmon systems in Alaska. Download the SASAP PDF