After hours of meetings and research and discussion over the past six months, a decision has been made on Late Run King Salmon Management – no change.
Board: “The new substitute language does not change the existing regulation 5AAC.21.359 except under paragraph b, the first little b, the words ‘biological’ will be changed to ‘sustainable,’ and the numbers 17,800-35,700 will be changed to 15,000-30,000. That will be the only change.”
That was the Board of Fish adjusting the lower end of the King Salmon escapement goal, so it relates to their new Didson counter instead of the old Bendix. Ricky Gease with KRSA explained…
Gease: “The Department says they have no idea how the new goal with Didson relates to the old goal.”
So, functionally, the plan will be the same this year as it was in 2012. During Board discussions on the management plan today, Board Member Vince Kluberton suggested RC88, with greater step-down measures, which were rejected. He explained his ideas might not be popular, but he was voting for conservation of fish, and while consensus would be nice, it just wasn’t coming.
Fellow Board Member Tom Kluberton cautiously opposed RC 88…
Kluberton: “At this point, I’m finding myself just ready to duck for cover, head back to status quo, see how well the Department moves with the reduced escapement range.”
And in the end, that’s what happened. Salmon will be tracked with acoustic tags this season, which will hopefully provide more information on their habits when the Board again takes up the King Salmon management plan in cycle next year.
According to Rob Williams with KPFA, the Department is also promising more frequent updates on King Salmon numbers, which should lead to greater understanding of runs during the season.
For now, the Board of Fish turns to other statewide issues, with their involvement in King Salmon issues settled for another year.
To listen to Board meetings in progress, visit the Board of Fisheries website.