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Thursday, March 21, 2019
HomePolitics and PolicyKenai fishing group wants ‘feed Alaskans first’ rule

Kenai fishing group wants ‘feed Alaskans first’ rule

PERSONAL USE FISHERY WOULD HAVE HIGHEST PRIORITY

The Kenai River Sportsfishing Association is asking the Board of Fisheries to prioritize the food needs of Alaskans over commercial fishing interests, when allocating Alaska’s seafood resources.

With 15 percent of people on the Kenai experiencing food insecurity or actual hunger, the group says its time to make personal use fishing the highest priority among the competing interests in non-subsistence fisheries.

The group made Proposal 171 in advance of the fish board’s March meeting. KRSA argues that allocation of seafood resources are too aligned with the historical use of the resource, and that fish management requires the board adapt to ongoing conditions “to ensure they are relevant to current conditions and needs.”

When allocating fishery resources that are in non-subsistence use areas, KRSA says the board should consider:

  • The importance of each fishery for providing residents the opportunity to harvest fish for personal and family consumption.
  • The number of residents and nonresidents who have participated in each fishery in the past and the number of residents and nonresidents who can reasonably be expected to participate in the future.
  • The importance of each fishery to the economy of the region and local area in which the fishery is located;
  • The importance of each fishery to the economy of the state;
  • The history of each personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fishery with emphasis on the previous 20 years.
  • The importance of each fishery in providing recreational opportunities for residents and nonresidents.
  • The availability of alternative fisheries resources of similar characteristics.

Sec. 16.05.251 currently says that the Board of Fisheries “may allocate fishery resources among personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fisheries. The board shall adopt criteria for the allocation of fishery resources and shall use the criteria as appropriate to particular allocation decisions. The criteria may include factors such as:

(1) The history of each personal use, sport, guided sport, and commercial fishery;
(2) The number of residents and nonresidents who have participated in each fishery in the past and the number of residents and nonresidents who can reasonably be expected to participate in the future;
(3) The importance of each fishery for providing residents the opportunity to obtain fish for personal and family consumption;
(4) The availability of alternative fisheries resources;
(5) The importance of each fishery to the economy of the state; Rev. Jan. 2018
(6) The importance of each fishery to the economy of the region and local area in which the fishery is located;
(7) The importance of each fishery in providing recreational opportunities for residents and nonresidents.

Using the  current allocation criteria, KRSA says that 98 percent of Alaska’s fish are exported for use by non-Alaskans, while just one percent is harvested for subsistence in rural areas of the state and the remaining one percent is split between the resident-only personal use and sport fisheries for residents and non-residents.

Annually, some 6 billion pounds of seafood is exported to feed people elsewhere in the world, KRSA says

KRSA submitted to the board Proposal 171, which ranks the 7 allocation criteria now used by the BOF and would require as the highest priority the importance of each fishery for providing residents the opportunity to harvest fish for personal and family consumption.

The Board of Fisheries meets March 8-12 in Anchorage.

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • If 98% of Alaska’s fish are exported, then an insignificant decrease in commercial fishing would be a huge increase in fish for Alaskans.

  • This is good sense and should have a lot of support. It would give better opportunities for residents to have a healthy diet and healthy activity to acquire that small percentage. I’m for it. Hope the Board will look at this and work for the benefit of the residents of Alaska and subsistence.

  • Ask yourself why their is a strong correlation between the degradation of the Kenai River Salmon Fishery and the inception and increased involvement of the Kenai River Sportsfishing Association. Because of Political influence of groups like this on Fisheries management in the Kenai we’ll continue to see a once healthy salmon system degrade. Sadly, groups like the KRSA will probably get their way and totally kill what was once an amazing Salmon Ecosystem that supported a viable Commercial Fishing Industry and Personal Use Fishery. What a shame!

    • Nice try at spin! LOL!

      • No spin, only facts. Check out history of Salmon returns in Kenai River and other river systems of Cook Inlet Prior to Inception of KRSA and exploding sport fish pressure on Kenai. All that traffic on river and Politically Motived Fisheries Management rather than traditional Biological Management is the problem. Explain how that’s spin? I’m not against Sport Fishing, I participate in it also but most of you have little to no understanding of Fisheries Management. Point the finger all you want at Cook Inlet Commercial Fisheries but prior to exploding sport fishing pressure the Kenai was healthy.

  • Commercial fisheries, both ours and other nations (who park offshore and choke off the runs before they ever hit their home streams) have a far more deleterious effect to the ecosystem than sport fisherman ever possibly could. I applaud this effort to put the fisherman and families of Alaska ahead of Japanese trawlers and big commercial operations. Just for the record, I am against set netting too. Dipnetting, after the escarpment goal is met at the end of the season, makes sense from a subsistence viewpoint; but the number of fish per family may be a bit high. If we don’t act now, to prevent over fishing, there will be no fish and we’ll all be eating that sickly, pale, farmed raised, Atlantic crap they call salmon.

  • Hello!!! Biology. 101. Did anyone study the biology of Salmon and where abundance comes from. Do you know that to achieve Maximum Sustained Yield for all users you need to harvest the surplus. If you want to see our resource reach its lowest common denominator then keep over-escaping the river. Stop Managing politically and let the biologists do their job. This whole effort is purely a vendetta against commercial fishing. Who cannot get enough Salmon to eat with a fishing pole right now?