Not everyone may dipnet. The rapids fishing is guided by certain rights and only those who are right holders can practice dipnetting.
Dipnetting rights are based on the ancient fishing rights of the local farms. These rights allow the owners of the original 16 farms and the smaller parts of them to catch whitefish in the rapids area. Thus the owners of these farms also own the fishing rights. The rights themselves can not be sold – they can be inherited from previous generations or they can come with a real estate trade.
The owners of the fishing rights are organized in associations locally. These associations arrange the practices of dipnetting. They organize the 24/7 shift dipnetting during the busiest fishing season, they take care of bringing people together for building the piers and repairing the traditional buildings, they arrange auctions for winter-time fishing and organize the whitefish sharing events each summer evening. The association has an important role in maintaining and cherishing the tradition and protecting the fish stock. It works together with official organizations for example in research and is active in producing local events.
Over the centuries there have been many conflicts in court considering whitefish fishing. They have been about fishing and ownership, taxations, rights, land owning etc. Despite the questioning from the outside the situation has never changed: the rights have always been verified.
There are 16 original farms in Kukkolankoski area. They have been split in smaller parts over time. All the farms have a certain taxation value which originates from the period of the Swedish kingdom in the 16th century. It is defined by not only surface area of the farm but also fishing and hunting rights.
All this becomes visible during the shift dipnetting season when the common catch of the day is shared every evening between the farms in relation to each and everyone’s share in tax.