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Dillingham subsistence permits available electronically this season

Avery Lill/KDLG

Dillingham subsistence permits can be filled out on phones, tablets, or computers. The electronic option is an effort to reduce foot traffic to Fish and Game's office, which only allows two visitors in the office at a time. 

Subsistence permits in Dillingham are available electronically this season — part of an effort to follow state health guidelines and reduce foot traffic to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office in Dillingham. Residents can email Fish and Game staff to get an electronic permit form, says Tim Sands, an area management biologist in Dillingham.  

“We will send you a PDF form that you fill out on your phone or on your computer. It’s a fillable form, you can sign it. You send it back to us. Then we’ll complete our part of the form, with the signature and the number and then we’ll send it back to you and that’ll be your permit,” he explained. 

The permit can be saved on a smartphone and can be used instead of a printed copy while subsistence fishing. There is also an electronic form to report subsistence harvests at the end of the season. 

The Fish and Game office in King Salmon is sending out permit forms in the mail. People who don't receive a form in the mail can call the King Salmon office to get a form via email, or they can stop by the office. Residents of other communities can get permits at their regular vendors.

Fish and Game’s offices in King Salmon and Dillingham are open, but only two visitors at a time are allowed in the buildings, and Sands said they're trying to avoid traffic jams. 

“If everybody in Dillingham decides that they want to come get a permit after June first, there’s gonna be hours long waits to get permits. So we’re asking people to think ahead, be proactive, and do stuff online as much as possible,” he said. 

Commercial fishing forms, meanwhile, no longer require a notary. That includes the permit holder agent authorization form. According to Sands, the change will reduce contact time with processors and Fish and Game staff. 

"If you need to renew your boat, ADF&G number, or your permit, go online. Get it done now. Don't wait 'til June, try and come in the office and get us to help you, 'cause you can end up waiting for hours if there's a long line at the office," Sands said at a town hall meeting last week. "So just trying to get people to be proactive and take care of as much stuff in advance as possible."

Fish and Game plans to operate all field camps and projects in the region. Sands said that field staff will have limited to no contact with the community when traveling to their sites, all of which will be closed campuses with no visitor policies in place. 

Contact the author at isabelle@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.