1 Week to Board of Fish

This time next week the Board of Fish will be sitting down to consider proposals which could dramatically change the face of Cook Inlet fishing.

 

In more than 200 pages dedicated to the Upper Cook Inlet, there are proposals to tie sports and commercial fishing together…

 

Dwight Kramer: “If you look at the Anchor River, it closes above the bridge there at the weir; provides no fishing there and spawning certainty. We do it in other areas, we do it in the Kasilof. July 1st, that closes above that bridge, so the Kings can be left alone to spawn, and it’s time that we do it in the Kenai as well.”

 

Introduce an entirely new type of gear, called a Selective Harvest Module…

 

Brent Johnson: “It’s an opportunity to see if I can find a better way to do what we’re doing.”

 

Require dip netters to grind their waste on the beach…

 

Courtney Stroh: “If they could find a way, I think it could help, just because it would be so much smaller, a lot harder to wash back up onto the beach, but I think that before we could do that, we’d need to find a way to make it really work.”

 

Require all industries to report their fish catches within 24 hours…

 

Megan Smith: “For commercial fishing, we are required to report within 24 hours and there are certain user groups that we won’t get their harvest data for up to a year after the fish are taken from the river, and that’s just too long.”

 

And clarify Kasilof escapement goals…

 

Pat Shields: “The question that remains as part of that management plan is what is the department to do if the minimum goal in the Kenai River has been achieved? Is the BEG still the target or is the OEG the target?”

 

Fishermen are preparing for some big decisions, with various groups spending tens of thousands of dollars on the two weeks of meetings.

 

Kenai City Manager Rick Koch noted that it’s likely to be a contentious year…

 

Koch: “It’s more of a personal observation, not one that necessarily reflects my having a city manager hat on, but there were some pretty severe proposals in there that were aimed at eliminating or severely restricting the use of the asset by certain groups.”

 

You can view the entire packet here: 2014 Board of Fish Proposals. There are some options for submitting late comments, which you can find by clicking here.

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