Illegally dumped fish waste could lead to bears and fines, warns Fish and Game

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 11:16 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Summer is a popular time to be out on the water in Alaska with so many looking to fill freezers with fish ahead of the colder seasons.

But, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is warning that it could cost fishermen for not discarding fish waste legally.

Fishermen of all types are being reminded to discard fish waste properly or face the consequences. Every year, the Department of Fish and Game says it finds fish waste scattered in places across the state, including private and public property, along roadways, pull-offs and trails.

Money lost to fines isn’t the only negative effect for those that don’t properly dispose of fish waste, said Dave Battle, wildlife biologist for the department. Tossing fish parts thoughtlessly may draw bears into residential areas, Battle warned, saying that many Alaskans may think that since fish waste is biodegradable, they are doing no harm.

But Battle says it’s actually a major public safety issue, which could lead to people’s lives being put in danger and putting bears at risk of being shot.

“The main thing is the public safety issue,” Battle said. “If a bear finds a large pile of fish carcasses, a bear could defend ... if a human happens by too closely, and around the Anchorage area, humans always happen by too closely.”

If possible, Fish and Game says anglers are encouraged to chop up and throw fish parts into fast-moving waters. Anglers and dipnetters who take fish from their fishing sites are asked to take that fish waste to a waste transfer station or landfill, such as the Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna.

Under Alaska’s littering laws, illegal dumping is prohibited and may result in fines ranging from $300 to $1,000, according to Fish and Game.

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