Alaska Board of Fisheries officials have rescheduled the Southeast and Yakutat shellfish and finfish meeting for March 10-22 in Anchorage.
During the 12-day session, the board will consider 157 proposals on Southeast and Yakutat finfish and shellfish issues in proposals submitted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, local fish and game advisory committees, fishing organizations and the public.
While holding the meeting in Anchorage is not a preferred choice of the board, it is part of a balancing act between allowing the current COVID-19 surge to peak, limited budget, logistics, fishery timing, other board meetings and COVID-19 testing and hospital capacity, BOF officials said.
To support strong public participation by impacted residents of Southeast Alaska the board will allow remote public testimony at this meeting via select ADF&G Southeast Alaska offices. All committee work at the meeting will be held in-person.
This meeting time was previously held for the board’s statewide shellfish meeting.
Given the urgency to handle proposals related to upcoming Southeast fisheries, the statewide shellfish meeting will be held shortly after the Southeast meeting, BOF officials said.
A final time may be dependent on the status of the Board of Game’s Jan. 21-29 Central/Southwest meeting scheduled in Wasilla. If that meeting is similarly postponed, the Board of Game may also schedule its meeting in synch with the Board of Fisheries.
Final schedules for both boards are to be set by the end of January.
To minimize costs for the public and agencies, the board plans to take up the proposals in two separate sessions. Session 1 will include all salmon, herring and non-groundfish finfish proposals, from March 10-18. Because of the fast-approaching herring season, the board will hear herring proposals first.
Groundfish and shellfish proposals will be heard in the second session, tentatively set for March 19-22.
In an effort to fully conduct this meeting the department is enacting temporary COVID-19 mitigation measures, including requiring registration, to ask for contact information to be used to communicate meeting updates to attendees. In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak at the meeting, that contact information will be made available to contact tracers.
Registration also allows attendees to indicate their intention to provide oral public testimony, selecting from multiple time slots on a first-come, first-serve basis for in-person testimony, or to provide remote public testimony. Register at adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fisheriesboard.meetinginfo&date=03-10-2022&meeting=anchorage.