King Goal Reversed 5-2

The move to raise the late run Kenai King goal has been reversed, as Board Members Tom Kluberton and Orville Huntington said they learned more yesterday afternoon about the Department’s position and the economic impact of the decision.

 

Kluberton said since the new information has come to light, he’s much more comfortable with trust the Department…

 

Kluberton: “I think at this point, it’s convinced myself it’s too soon in the mix to intervene as a Board in that, so I’m going to live with the SEG. I’m content to move forward with the SEG as it stands, and don’t see the need for the OEG.”

 

Orville Huntington also reversed his position, explaining…

 

Huntington: “I think Tom’s right. I agree with him. Not only that, but I don’t feel it’s right to go outside the [Department] model that was presented. When you change that data, then you’re not even looking at the same model, and I tried to emphasize that before I got tired and I kind of gave up. But one of the things you do is you violate the assumptions of those models, and I don’t think that was the intent I had. I just was up since earlier than I normally get up for a meeting and then I went all day and that affected my decision-making yesterday. I think in Kodiak I accused the Department of making some pretty silly mistakes and in this case, I think I made a mistake.”

 

Board Chair Karl Johnstone resisted the re-vote, alluding to a possible fallout. He said 209 people originally wrote letters of support for the proposal, but they got cold feet…

 

Johnstone: “When all of a sudden the forecast came out and it showed there weren’t as many kings as we all hoped there’d be, at that point it became apparent to them [the letter writers] if this 20,000 was put into regulation, it very likely would result in no fishing in the river, or for others as well. And at that time, it wasn’t as convenient to have to have this proposal on the table, and so the support dwindled in my opinion.”

 

New Board Member Fritz Johnson said he was pleased to see the change in tone, since the cost to fishermen would far outweigh the possible benefit for king salmon…

 

Johnson: “I frankly changed my position on this proposal as a result of some rough calculations as to the cost to stakeholders in this fishery. None of that was to suggest that my concern for king salmon is diminished at all. I think as we head down the road in this process, that’s an area we’re going to have to address. The numbers we’re looking at here that would increase the escapement goals are marginal, at best.”

 

The Board decided 5-2 to reverse yesterday’s decision, with only Johnstone and Morisky opposed.

 

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