Anyone interested in proposals to reduce the limits on king salmon fishing, prohibiting catch-and-release fishing for coho salmon in Resurrection Bay, and not allowing red salmon fishing until the brood stock needs of Cook Inlet Aquaculture have been met may likewise be interested in attending the upcoming meeting of the Seward Fish & Game Advisory Committee.
The meeting starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 in City Council Chambers and is open to the public. A representative from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be on hand to explain each proposal.
“We encourage the community to attend and participate in this forum. If these proposals go forward, we will have to live with it for three years until the Board revisits our area,” said AC Vice-Chair Dianne Dubuc.
Among the proposals that deal directly with Resurrection Bay are:
Proposal 51, which would prohibit catch-and-release fishing for coho salmon in Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay.
Proposal 56 would decrease the saltwater king salmon bag and possession limit in Resurrection Bay to one per day and two kings annually. Currently there is a two-fish daily limit and no annual limit from May 1 through Sept. 1, and a one-fish limit Sept. 1 through April. In the other areas of Cook Inlet there is a current annual limit of five fish from April 1 through Oct. 1.
Proposal 57 would limit the amount of sport-caught fish that can be exported to 100 pounds. Currently there is no limit.
Proposal 85 would prohibit sport fishing in the Resurrection River until brood stock goals are met. This would affect the sockeye fishery at McDonald’s beach on the east side of Resurrection Bay.
The Seward Advisory Committee’s 14 members include seven citizen sportsmen, five commercial fishermen and two charter fish operators. This committee will take comments at the Seward meeting and then vote on these and other proposals contained in the 2013/2014 Alaska Board of Fisheries Proposal Book, which can be viewed at http://ww.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main Click on the link for the 2013-2014 proposal book and then go to Lower Cook Inlet.
The next step in the process will be the Board of Fisheries Lower Cook Inlet meeting cycle set for Dec. 8-11 at the Egan Center in downtown Anchorage. People can show up at the Egan Center and sign up that day to comment on proposals. Everyone will be heard, Dubuc says.
Interested people can also mail comments to ATTN: Alaska Board of Fisheries, PO Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811. They should address their comments to Chair Johnstone and address each proposal by its number (e.g., RE: Prop #12) and the nature of the proposal. Deadline for written comments is Nov. 19.
The Proposal Book is the compilation of proposals introduced by Advisory Committees, ADF&G and citizens. According to Dubuc, “Every three years, the Board of Fisheries comes to the various regulatory areas. Anyone with an idea that concerns fish or game issues is free to write a proposal outlining their issue. These proposals are published in a book and there is a public comment period. The Board goes through the book, proposal by proposal, and ultimately votes to support or oppose.”
Dubuc notes: “Alaska is unique because our regulations call for a Board of Fisheries and a Board of Game. We are the only state in the union that has such a structure for public participation in issues concerning fish or game.”
She said, “What makes this a great system is that if you feel strongly about an issue, you write a proposal, show up at the meeting and give public testimony, there is a good chance that you see your efforts rewarded in the passage of your proposal.
The Seward Fish & Game Advisory Committee would like to extend the invitation to the public to participate in the Board process by attending this meeting and/or submitting on time written comments.