One of the major decisions at today’s Board of Fish Meetings was on how to manage fisheries when late run Kenai Kings are project to return 16,500-22,500 fish…
Proposal 209 (with RC 151)
The Department says they are neutral on the allocative proposal, which was originally put forward by KRSA and has been adjusted through an RC from Board Member Tom Kluberton.
Kluberton says RC 151 takes into account his experience during the King Salmon Task Force of 2012/13 and tries to form a plan to approach fisheries during low abundance. He hopes the change will give the Department flexibility to schedule that one 12 hour period around the most convenient tides, and provides a step-down between an “all on” or “all off” approach. He said he won’t require setnetters to move to shorter nets, given their “less than ideal” financial situation at this time.
Biologists from the Dept. Fish & Game say these decisions were previously made through Emergency Orders, based on the circumstances at the time. This proposal would dictate which restrictions to implement, according to run projections, and require that all industries be affected at the same time.
Chair Johnstone says he hasn’t heard anybody say the proposal is great, but that it hurts everybody. He says the Board isn’t there to please people, it’s here to protect the fish. This is allocative, and Johnstone says that’s their job.
After an hour of debate, RC 151 was amended to allow 36 hours of set net fishing time during a 15 day period when king returns are projected at 16,500 – 22,500. The proposal was adopted, with only Board Member Jensen in opposition.
Newest Board Member Fritz Johnson explained his position…
Johnson: “I’m going to support this, but I do it with no great sense of confidence that it’s going to accomplish what we intend. There may be surprises in here that are unanticipated. It’s launched with the best of intentions, but we’ll see what happens. We may be back here sooner than later when we discover how this plays out after a season or two.”