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KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Ketchikan's salmon derby will be significantly modified this year, with the Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby committee voting to hold a silver salmon contest instead. The decision comes amid widespread concerns about Southeast Alaska's king salmon stocks, including those of the Unuk River near Ketchikan.
The trend has led to similar actions the region, with the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska recently cancelling its king salmon derby in the Juneau area for the second year in a row.
Michael Briggs, Coordinator of the Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby, said in a CHARR press release that he hopes switching to silver salmon for the derby's 71st year will only be temporary.
“Obviously this is a community tradition going back decades,” Briggs said. “Rather than cancel the event altogether, the derby committee wanted to find a way to keep the tradition going while taking some of the pressure off the fish. We're hopeful stocks will rebound in the next year or two, allowing us to resume the king derby. Until then, we hope the community enjoys this event.”
Apart from the change in species, the biggest change to the derby is timing. Rather than beginning in May, the 2018 derby will open on Aug. 18 and conclude on Sept. 3. As usual, it will run for three consecutive weekends.
A CHARR press release said that while information regarding prizes and rule changes will be published in June, the derby's first-place winner will still recieve $10,000.
It also stated that ticket prices will likely remain the same as in past years. Proceeds from tickets benefit the CHARR Education Fund, which gives scholarships to local students.
Contact Michael Briggs at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.