Tag Archives: Board of Fisheries

Board of Fisheries declares low Chignik sockeye returns an emergency

Like many Gulf of Alaska communities, far fewer sockeye are returning to the Chignik River than forecasted. Chignik has an early and late run. The combined escapement goal for July 20 is 416,000 sockeye. As of July 18, only 222,000 sockeye had made it upriver to spawn. With no harvestable surplus, the Chignik Management area has not had a commercial fishing opportunity targeting sockeye. Further, some residents say they are voluntarily forgoing subsistence fishing to boost escapement. Audio report, >click to read<13:24

Northern District king salmon setnetters stay closed

Subsistence fishermen in part of the Susitna River drainage will be able to harvest a few kings, but commercial fishermen in Northern Cook Inlet will remain closed for now. The Board of Fisheries considered two emergency petitions Monday related to the preseason restrictions of king salmon fishing in northern Cook Inlet after preseason forecasts indicated that the Deshka River would not see enough king salmon returning to meet its escapement goals. The board approved an action related to a petition from the Mt. Yenlo Fish and Game Advisory Committee, which requested limited subsistence fishing opportunity for king salmon on the upper Yentna River, and denied another asking for reconsideration of the commercial fishery closure from the Tyonek Fish and Game Advisory Committee. >click to read<

Board of Fisheries denies petition on hatcheries

The members of the Board of Fisheries agree that Pacific salmon hatchery impacts on wild salmon stocks are concerning, but they aren’t clear on what to do to address them yet. At a meeting Monday to consider emergency petitions, the board declined to consider an emergency petition submitted by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and signed by a variety of Southcentral Alaska sportfishing organizations expressing concern about a hatchery operation permit. Specifically, the petition asked the board to intervene in a permit modification procedure for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation to increase its pink salmon egg take this season by 20 million. >click to read<15:35

Fields withdraws name from fish board consideration

It was a quick dip into the state fisheries politics pool for Duncan Fields. The Kodiak resident on Wednesday withdrew his name from consideration for the Board of Fisheries, a little less than two weeks after Gov. Bill Walker announced his nomination March 16, according to a press release from Walker’s office. Fields, a commercial salmon fisherman and former member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, had become a flashpoint of controversy among sportfishing groups because of his background in commercial fisheries.>click to read<10:47

Board of Fisheries nomination proves controversial

The nomination of a Kodiak-based fisherman to the Alaska Board of Fisheries has led to concern about an overrepresentation of commercial fisheries interests on the board. Governor Bill Walker recently recommended Duncan Fields for the Board of Fisheries to fill the seat left by Anchorage’s Alan Cain, whose term is up this year. Ricky Gease, the executive director of the Kenai River Sport Fishing Association, sees a need for that seat to go to someone with experience in Anchorage-based sports and personal use fishing. >click to read<21:24

Commercial fleet highlights economic impact of Sitka Sound herring catch

Despite three days of impassioned testimony before the Board of Fisheries in January, not much has changed for the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery, which will ramp up in about a month. Local subsistence harvesters won an increase in the size of their exclusive use area, but failed to persuade the board to reduce the commercial catch. Fishermen and processors from Petersburg joined with other commercial interests to remind the board of the economic importance of the annual springtime export. >click to read< 14:53

Board votes down change in Southeast Dungeness crab season

Crabber Max Worhatch proposed the change and successfully got the board to add the proposal to the meeting after missing the deadline for regulation changes.“I would like to seriously consider this,” Worhatch told the board. “I put a proposal in, just like this three years ago, didn’t get anywhere. The department felt like they had to have something to manage the fishery when it got to the low end. But in my experience and just from what I’ve seen in Oregon, California and Washington, size sex and season for Dungeness crab works and it works extremely well. It’s kindof an autopilot thing, doesn’t take a lot of work.” >click here to read< 10:22

Board of Fisheries weighs proposals protecting Chinook stocks in Southeast

The future of king salmon fishing in Southeast will change this week as the Board of Fisheries considers proposals to boost struggling Chinook stocks on the Chilkat and Taku rivers. The board convened in Sitka Thursday for a 13-day meeting that will resume Monday morning. The meeting isn’t limited to king salmon. This year’s proposals cover everything from the number of crab pots a commercial Dungeness fisherman can use, to the use of deep-sea release mechanisms for rockfish and the opening of a commercial squid fishery. >click here to read<17:50 

Alaska fishermen bewildered, alarmed at loss of king salmon

There’s an unsolved fish mystery playing out right now along a rugged, 300-mile stretch of Southeast Alaska coastline: What’s killing off the thousands of king salmon that, at an increasing rate, swim out to sea and don’t return to spawn? “There’s a big ocean out there,” said Tad Fujioka, a commercial fisherman in Sitka. “And it’s kind of a black box.” Alaska fishermen and scientists don’t know what, exactly, is causing king salmon returns to plummet across Southeast. But they’re trying to adapt to the consequences: closures for certain fisheries and new limits on catches,,, click here to read the story 10:20

Board of Fisheries declines request to cap Kodiak sockeye harvest

The Board of Fisheries won’t take up an out-of-cycle request to cap Kodiak sockeye salmon harvests during certain periods of the season, though it won’t be the last time the issue comes up. The board declined to accept an agenda change request that proposed a new management plan for the commercial purse seine fishery in the Kodiak Management Area setting weekly and seasonal limits on sockeye salmon harvest. The request, submitted by the United Cook Inlet Drift Association, raises concerns brought to light in a recent Alaska Department of Fish and Game genetic study showing that Kodiak seiners catch hundreds of thousands of Cook Inlet-bound sockeye salmon during the summer. click here to read the story 08:57

Pendulum ticks toward commercial fishermen as Cook Inlet meeting wraps

The Board of Fisheries pendulum may have swung, but it’s still attached to the same clockwork. The triennial Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meeting ended March 8, leaving behind a big fish goal for the Kenai River late king salmon run, potential expanded hours for the Cook Inlet drift and setnet fleets, and a brand new early run king salmon plan on the Kenai River. Though the tone was mild compared to that of 2014, the same grudges against the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the board, and among rival user groups are bubbling away. After three years of buildup following an emotional 2014 meeting, the 2017 marathon was sparsely attended and largely civil, focusing mainly on what ADFG Commercial Fisheries Division Operations Manager Forrest Bowers called “minor changes.” “This early run king plan, that’s probably the biggest change outside the large fish goal,” Bowers said. “With the late run sockeye plan, there was a long discussion but at the end of the day it didn’t really do much. The late run king plan, I mean, again, long discussion, relaxed the August restriction a bit, but it’s fundamentally the same.”  continue reading the article here 13:25

Ludger Dochtermann of Kodiak – Reinstituting Reasonable Crab Pot Limits

Dear Board of Fisheries members: My name is Ludger Dochtermann of Kodiak, and I own two crab vessels, the F/V Northpoint and F/V Stormbird. Like all others in the fleet, we are deeply affected by the recent sinking of the F/V Destination off St. George Island and the loss of her entire crew.  The Stormbird is also fishing out of St. George this season. It is obvious that icing played a large part in that sinking, and word is that the vessel had an excessive number of pots aboard at the time.  Tarps were ripped off and found among the flotsam along with buoys and a life ring. The weather at the time made for severe conditions and risky business. It is challenging to parse between proposals, regulations, and policy, and just plain duty. The IFQ fisheries were instituted for privatization; and a federally imposed IFQ system came into being without NPFMC and U.S. Senate testimonies by vessel architects, load-line engineers, USCG safety officers, insurance experts and experienced captains discussing the specific concerns of safety. Continue reading the letter here 15:54

More restrictions proposed for Northern District setnetters

Setnetting on the beaches of northern Cook Inlet isn’t a very visible fishery, but participants argue it’s a viable one. The Northern Cook Inlet setnet fishery operates between a line between Boulder Point in Nikiski and the Kustatan Peninsula on the west side of the inlet and Fire Island. Fishermen can target all five species of Pacific salmon at different times throughout the summer, beginning May 25 with a directed king salmon fishery. As northern district setnetter Trevor Rollman put it in his testimony the Board of Fisheries on Friday, the fishery doesn’t have an official closure, but rather it’s the weather that closes them for the season. Most of the fishermen land in Anchorage. Many of them direct-market their catch, as Rollman said he intended to do with his site in the future. Direct-marketers, sometimes called catcher-sellers, harvest and prepare their catch themselves, selling it directly to customers.  Read the full article here 08:57

Strong harvests, more oversight marked 2016 groundfish fisheries

Last year was a good year overall for groundfish fisheries in the region. With a few standout harvests and favorable proposals with the Board of Fisheries, managers are feeling optimistic heading into the new year. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game oversees several groundfish fisheries within the Cook Inlet Management Area, which extends outside of Kachemak Bay to the north Gulf coast. “These fisheries include Pacific cod, sablefish, a directed pelagic shelf rockfish fishery, lingcod, and a small commissioner’s permit Pollock fishery,” said Jan Rumble, Fish and Game area groundfish management biologist. Pacific cod stood out in 2016 as it was open all year long for pot and jig gear in either a parallel or state waters fishery, Rumble said. Read the story here 11:19

Board of Fish finalizes recommendations on fish habitat permitting

The state Board of Fisheries, the body that sets regulations on state-overseen fisheries, voted to send a letter to the Legislature at its Kodiak meeting, held Jan. 10–Jan. 13 recommending the state review Title 16 of the Alaska Statute, which addresses how the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game should issue permits in streams determined to be fish habitat. Any activity that may use, divert, obstruct or change the natural flow of a body of water determined to be fish habitat requires a permit, granted by the commissioner of Fish and Game. The current statute says the commissioner shall grant a permit unless an activity is deemed “insufficient for the proper protection of fish and game.” The request was born out of a non-regulatory proposal submitted to the board for its 2016/2017 cycle by a group of 13 citizens of various user groups in fisheries. Read the story here 09:46

Bears vs. salmon: Solving the McNeil River puzzle

Although brown bears kill more than half the chum salmon entering the world-famous McNeil River each year, state fishery biologists and managers don’t believe the bears’ predation is the primary reason for the river’s stubbornly persistent weak salmon runs. Consequently, although the state Board of Fisheries recently designated the McNeil chum fishery a stock of concern, the board also decided against shooing away or killing some of the bears or helping the salmon avoid them — opting instead to allow the chum runs, over time, to recover on their own. McNeil River — named about a century ago for area rancher Charlie McNeil and bounded by McNeil River State Game Refuge and Katmai National Park — drains into the western portion of Kamishak Bay, approximately 100 miles west-southwest of Homer. The entire drainage lies within the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, established in 1967, an exceptional bear-viewing area located near a cascading set of falls that has been drawing wildlife lovers since its creation. Read the story here 09:25

Commercial cod fishermen get more space in Kachemak Bay

whales stealing fish from long lines alaskaCommercial groundfish fishermen in Kachemak Bay will get more space to operate after the Board of Fisheries redefined the closed waters in the area. In Lower Cook Inlet, commercial fishermen are allowed to use pots to fish for Pacific cod and have been allowed inside Kachemak Bay west of the Homer Spit and along the southern shore of the bay near Seldovia. However, the main section and a swath extending westward in the center of the bay have been closed by regulation because of concerns for the Tanner crab population, which has dropped off significantly in Kachemak Bay in the last two decades or so. The fishery is mostly small boats, and because the fishery takes place in the fall on the edges of Kachemak Bay, they run the risk of bad weather, so to avoid the poor weather, they have limited area, said AlRay Carroll, the proposer, during his public comments during the Board of Fisheries’ meeting in Homer on Wednesday. Read the article here 10:28

Sockeye forecast adds concern to Board of Fisheries process

adfg-logoUpper Cook Inlet salmon fishery stakeholders should be concerned with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s 2017 sockeye forecast for many reasons — not the least of which is that the predicted low harvest will inject even more economic and allocation concerns into the debate when the Board of Fisheries meets in February. This past week, the Alaska Journal of Commerce reported that Fish and Game is forecasting a return of 4 million sockeye salmon, with an expected commercial harvest of 1.7 million — about 1.2 million fish less than the 20-year average harvest. Based on 2016 prices, a harvest of 1.7 million sockeye would be worth $10.4 million to Upper Cook Inlet commercial fishermen, which is roughly half the value of this year’s harvest of 2.4 million fish. For the fish board, which sets fishery regulations, seeing a low sockeye forecast ahead of an Upper Cook Inlet meeting is akin to the economy taking a dive right before a presidential election. Each side will have its own theory as to who or what has caused the decline — and that certainly will color the debate at the Board of Fisheries meeting. Read the rest here 09:39

Public weighs in at Board of Fisheries meeting in Soldotna

F15735403ishermen and the fisheries-inclined turned out by the dozens Tuesday for an open hearing before the Board of Fisheries to air their concerns on a host of issues. The Board of Fisheries, preparing to enter its 2016-2017 cycle, is holding a work session in Soldotna this week to discuss Agenda Change Requests and non-regulatory proposals and to take public comments. When the session was scheduled in October 2014, the board set aside an entire day for fishermen to make public comments on any issue they wanted to address. Commenters spoke on a variety of issues, but several recurred throughout the day. The issue that received the most comments, both for and against, was a non-regulatory proposal requesting the Board of Fisheries to lobby the Legislature to update the state fish habitat permitting process to include specific criteria from the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fisheries Policy. Read the story here 11:20

Board of Fish considers commercial Yukon pink salmon fishery

A proposal laying the groundwork for a pink salmon commercial fishery near the mouth of the Yukon is on the agenda of this week’s Board of Fisheries meeting in Fairbanks. The proposal would formalize a fishery that has been taking shape by accident over the past few years, but there are concerns about how it would affect the struggling Yukon king salmon population. The proposal was submitted by Kwik’pak Fisheries – the major fish buyer on the lower Yukon.  It would allow the Department of Fish and Game to open commercial fishing with 4-inch mesh nets to target pink salmon at a time fishermen are using other gear types to harvest the tail end of the summer chum run. Read the article here 10:34

Walker’s appointments director resigns after two failed fish board nominations

The official charged with picking appointees for state boards and commissions has left Gov. Bill Walker’s administration, a spokeswoman said Monday.Walker wouldn’t answer questions about the official, Karen Gillis, in a news conference Monday, saying her departure was a personnel matter. Several people involved in fish politics attributed Gillis’s departure to a dispute with the governor over his potential selection of a candidate viewed as aligned more with sportfishing interests than commercial fishing interests. Read the rest here 08:19

Board of Fisheries seat open again after Ruffner rejection

Editorial note: this article has been updated. Roberta Quintavell possesses a certificate from Harvard School of Business’s Program for Management Development in 2001. It is not a degree.  Gov. Bill Walker has yet another appointment to make to a shorthanded Board of Fisheries, and this time the Legislature won’t be in the equation. After the second of his two board nominations failed to replace resigned chairman Karl Johnstone, Walker will have to appoint a new name from a long list of applicants by May 19. Read the rest here 16:16

Ruffner voted down for Board of Fisheries

Allocations among different user groups took a forefront since Ruffner’s nomination.Criticisms during the confirmation session came largely from Rep. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and other legislators who have recently attacked Ruffner’s suitability for supposed allegiance to the commercial fishing industry and lack of representativeness of the Anchorage personal use and dipnetting user base. Read the rest here 21:32

Southeast trollers fight for chums at Board of Fisheries

Regulations to increase the chum harvest for southeast trollers fell short. The Alaska Board of Fisheries held a meeting from Feb. 23 to March 3 to hear proposals regarding southeast Alaska and Yakutat finfish, which includes salmon, herring, and sablefish fisheries for commercial, sport, and subsistence harvest. The meeting limped along with only four voting members during many of the proposals, which kept at least one contentious measure from being passed for lack of board input. Read the rest here  15:08

Nominee Maw faces marathon board confirmation hearing

board-of-fish-maw-91807e26Roland Maw may not get confirmed for the Board of Fisheries until he hears from every Alaskan who’s ever cast a line or a net, whether politician or private citizen. More than 40 people registered for public comment online and were heard only after some aggressive questioning by committee members worried about Maw’s priorities, particularly his involvement with the Cook Inlet commercial fleet, the lawsuits of his former employer, and the consistency of his science and biology championing. Read the rest here 14:33

Cook Inlet fish wars dominate headlines again in 2014

The Upper Cook Inlet fisheries were tense in 2014, with an emotional Board of Fisheries meeting in the winter and new restrictions in the summer. Alaska’s Board of Fisheries met in Anchorage in late January and early February to discuss management plans for Upper Cook Inlet. By the end of the two-week meeting, the board for the first time approved changes that paired restrictions for sport and commercial fishermen. Read the rest here 17:07

Board of Fisheries readies for annual work session in Juneau Oct. 15 and 16

The board is meeting for its annual work session, where it hears preliminary reports on escapement goals for each of the regions it will discuss as part of its regular meeting cycle for 2014-15. The Board of Fisheries sets the management plans for fisheries throughout the state,,, Read the rest here  14:57

Board of Fisheries rejects Kuskokwim change

23523_354387901211_7651997_aThe board considered a petition from the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group that would have enabled the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to restrict subsistence fishers to 4-inch mesh setnets, disallowing drift nets on the river. Board chair Karl Johnstone noted that there was not an emergency per say, because the board had been aware that the run this year was going to be poor. Read more here 16:11

Board of Fisheries hears nearly eight hours of public testimony – ADF&G website crashes.

The board heard from fishermen from nearly every UCI fishery who didn’t want to loose opportunity – and many who were concerned about declining king runs in the area. Much of the testimony was as expected, with stakeholders providing similar testimony to the written comments submitted before the meeting began. A total 234 members of the public signed up to testify. Read [email protected]  Meeting resumes at 8 a.m. Sunday – 12:00 eastern 11:05

Board of Fisheries is in Session! Listen Live.

When in session, the Board of Fish hosts streaming live audio.  Click here  15:44

The Upper Cook Inlet Board of Fisheries meeting starts this Friday.

Posted January 27, 2014 Alaska Board of Fisheries to Meet in Anchorage, January 31–February 13, 2014 on Upper Cook Inlet Finfish    information here  17:42