Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Alaska Board of Fisheries Says “No” to Allocation Changes

A sportfishing association’s proposal to change criteria for allocation of fishery resources among personal use, sport and commercial harvesters was defeated this week by the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

Under Proposal 171, brought forth by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, allocation criteria would have been changed to take into consideration the history of each personal use, sport, guided sport and commercial fishery with emphasis on the past 20 years.

The proposal argued for an adaptive management process, with periodic re-evaluation and updating of management goals and objectives taking into consideration the number of residents and nonresidents who have participated in each fishery in the past and the number of residents and nonresidents who could reasonably be expected to participate in the future.

“Limiting the consideration of the history of a fishery to 20 years and prioritizing decisions based on the number of participants effectively ignores the fact that the number of commercial salmon fishermen in our state has been static since the Limited Entry Act was passed in 1972, while other salmon fisheries statewide have grown unchecked in that same amount of time,” said Chelsea Haisman, executive director of Cordova District Fishermen United in her testimony to the fisheries board. “It ignores the investment that any Alaskans have made in our economy, in our rural areas, and around the state,” she noted.

“When making decisions that may have allocative impacts, whether intentional or not, it is critical to keep the history and context part of the discussion, and this proposal, if passed, would remove that context,” Haisman said, a third-generation commercial harvesters from Cordova, Alaska.

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