Discussion at the KPFA annual meeting is currently focusing on King Salmon runs, as State biologists and fisheries managers address the implications of a weakened resource.
Director of Commercial Fisheries Jeff Regnart said the primary goal is setting escapements for sustainability.
Kenai Mayor Pat Porter, Borough Mayor Mike Navarre, State Reps. Paul Seaton and Kurt Olson, and State Senator Cathy Giessel are taking in the view points and official responses as members of the commercial fishing community present their questions.
Sen. Giessel previously noted fisheries issues as one of her top summer priorities…
Sen. Giessel(R-S. Anchorage): “I’m watching to see what kind of allocation decisions are made. You know, last year of course, the set netters were basically shut out. I see that they are closing some personal use fishery further south from my district, but nevertheless. So, I’m just waiting to see how the runs are and how they allocate things from sport to personal use to drift to set.”
The question on many minds here is: will the sockeye run be sacrificed for the sake of the Kings, since closure of the set netters could result in devastating over escapement and the decimation of the sockeye run. Area Management Biologist Pat Shields said the unpleasant reality is that drift net fishermen could replace the ESSN’s usual role in catching sockeye while sparing the majority of Kings.
Shields said when it comes to ESSN fisheries, managers have two tools: area and time. The ADF&G can close areas or reduce time. Closing areas means putting some people out of business completely. Closing time affects all commercial fishermen.
We will post the results of the KPFA board elections this evening once they become available.
Thus far 5 resumes have been received the majority coming from young fishermen.