AEB’s Fish News from March 11, 2015
Download the Aleutians East Borough‘s Fish News from March 11th, 2015 (PDF) here:
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Upcoming Board of Fish Meeting: Something for Every State-Waters Fisherman
By Ernie Weiss, AEB Natural Resources Director
Next week, the Alaska Board of Fisheries will convene for the last meeting of the 2014/2015 cycle, the only board meeting this cycle to be held in Anchorage. Each end-of-cycle meeting typically covers issues that aren’t discussed at other topic specific meetings and proposals considered out of cycle. The title of this meeting is “Statewide Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, Misc. Shellfish (except Southeast and Yakutat) and Supplemental Issues”, and the agenda has something for every state- water fisherman.
Drift net fishermen will be interested in Proposals 263 & 264, to modify the length of drift and set net gear. Proposal 44, a carry-over from the 2013/2014 cycle, would create state-waters pollock fishery management plans for the Cook Inlet, Kodiak and Chignik areas. Board members Sue Jeffery and John Jensen, co-chairs of the Pollock Work Group, are also expected to report on the findings of the work group at this meeting.
Legislators in Juneau have introduced bills this session that may be in conflict with some proposals to be taken up next week. House Bill 134, for example, reconfirms that a salmon seine vessel is limited to 58 feet in length, whereas Proposal 276 would redefine the method used to determine the maximum length of salmon purse seine vessels.
House Bill 103 would require the Boards of Fisheries and Game to only adopt regulations in response to advisory committees, state agencies and petitions from the public, and would end board-generated proposals like Proposal 277. Proposal 277 will allow the board to consider optimum escapement goals for Bristol Bay sockeye salmon, based on an industry study. Sport fishermen who utilize Bristol Bay’s rivers and streams are watching this proposal closely.
Shellfish proposals of interest to local fishermen include Proposal 236, that would set an earlier closure date for Dungeness crab fisheries, and Proposal 268 that would reduce the carapace width of legal Bairdi tanner crab from 5.5 to 5 inches for Bairdi crab in Bering Sea waters east of 166° W.
While the Board of Fish utilizes a committee process to gather pertinent information about each proposal, the ‘Committee of the Whole’ will address each proposal at this meeting with an alternating committee chair for each group of proposals. The 7-member board is still short one member. Chairman Karl Johnstone resigned in January after Governor Walker expressed his dissatisfaction with the board’s process to interview commissioner candidates, and then in February, board nominee Roland Maw withdrew his name from consideration Tom Kluberton of Talkeetna now chairs the Board of Fisheries.
A list of all the proposals to be addressed at the meeting can be found at the link Roadmap. The Alaska Board of Fisheries meets March 17 th through the 20 th at the Anchorage Sheraton; live audio of Board sessions will be available at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.main New proposals for consideration during the 2015/2016 Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting cycle, including for the Alaska Peninsula / Aleutian Islands / Chignik Finfish meeting, can be submitted until 5 p.m. on April 10, 2015. Proposal submittal information can be found at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.forms.