New limits on salmon harvests for the Kodiak area have been approved by the Alaska Board of Fisheries to allow increased harvests in other areas.
With one board member absent and one recused, the vote during the Kodiak meeting of the fisheries board on Jan. 15 was 4-1 in favor of passage of proposals 60 and 64.
Public radio station KMXT in Kodiak reported that Kodiak salmon fishermen were stunned by the decision which put new limits on harvesters in the Cape Igvak fishery as well as the Katmai Alinchak Section on the mainland.
The Cape Igvak fishery harvests salmon bound for Chignik, where harvests have been devastating in recent years. Closure in the Katmai Alinchak Section is designed to allow Cook Inlet salmon to pass through in hope that they will arrive in the Susitna River drainage.
Duncan Fields, a harvester and Kodiak attorney who chairs the Kodiak Salmon Work Group, told KMXT that the board’s action “was beyond the scope of even worst-case scenario.”
Several dozen fishermen and others who testified during the fisheries board meeting said that the current Cape Igvak fishing plan already did not allow Kodiak to fish until a certain number of fish had reached Chignik.
The board also extended a management plan for over 40 miles on the Alaska Peninsula, action that Fields told KMXT came “primarily with some misplaced idea that they’re going to save some Susitna sockeye.”
Fields estimated that the cuts to the two fishing areas would result in a $2 million to $3 million annual loss to Kodiak fisheries.
A summary of all proposal actions taken at the Kodiak meeting is online at adfg.alaska.gov/static/regulations/regprocess/fisheriesboard/pdfs/2019-2020/kodiak/soa.pdf.
The fisheries board will take up Upper Cook Inlet finfish issues in Anchorage Feb. 7-19 and statewide king and tanner crab and supplemental issues at Anchorage March 8-11. Details on proposals to be covered at those meetings and how to participate are online at adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo.