AK Board of Fisheries Cuts Kodiak’s Salmon Allocation

This past week, the Alaska Board of Fisheries set new limits on commercial salmon harvests for the Kodiak area.

The Cape Igvak salmon management plan, proposal 60, called for a reduction of the Cape Igvak section allocation from 15 percent to five percent of the total Chignik area sockeye salmon catch. Proposal 64 amended management plans to restrict the commercial seine fishery from June 28 through July 25. Both proposals passed following a 4-1 vote.

Kodiak Salmon work group chairman Duncan Fields, a veteran harvester and former member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, told Kodiak public radio station KMXT that in dollar terms the passage of those proposals will cost Kodiak $2 million to $3 million annually. Fields also expressed concern that the fisheries board didn’t seem swayed by testimony from Kodiak fishermen who packed the standing-room only meeting to speak in defense of their fishery.

A number of those who testified noted that the Cape Igvak plan currently in place doesn’t allow Kodiak harvesters to fish until Chignik has received a certain number of salmon and during Chignik’s most disastrous recent years, Kodiak fishermen didn’t fish Cape Igvak.

The decision on the proposals came to a 4-1 vote because board member Fritz Johnson of Dillingham was absent and board member Gerad Godfrey of Eagle River had to recuse himself, because his uncle hold a Kodiak district seine permit.

In a letter to board chairman Reed Morisky prior to the vote, Fields said the work group challenged board member Marit Carlson-Van Dort’s ethics disclosure statement, which said there were no interests of a personal or financial nature that she or any members of her immediate family have that may be affected by the proposals before the board.

Fields said the work group had learned that Carlson-Van Dort has first, second and third cousins who hold Chignik District salmon seine permits and that the work group found it difficult to believe that none of her relatives would be personally or financially impacted by those proposals.

A summary of all proposal actions taken at the Kodiak meeting is available online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2019-2020/kodiak/soa.pdf

The fisheries board will take up Upper Cook Inlet finfish issues at its Anchorage meeting slated for Feb. 7-19 and statewide king and tanner crab and supplemental issues on March 8-11. Details on proposals to be covered at those meetings and how to participate can be found online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo.