The Alaska Board of Fisheries is holding public meetings this week, and it did no go well for the BOF, according to KTOO radio. Salmon fishermen were among the most vocal voices heard at Tuesday’s meeting.
Salmon fishermen from across Southeast also are turning out in force as the board may designate king salmon a “stock of concern,” which could trigger increased restrictions on commercial and sport fishing for king, or chinook, salmon.
Fish and Game’s forecast for kings on five Southeast rivers is the lowest on record. Chinook returns on these rivers are projected to be just a fraction of what state biologists say is needed for a sustainable run.
Dozens of competing proposals want to tweak rules that will affect the livelihood of commercial fishermen and sport fishing charter guides in communities from Ketchikan to Haines.
There’s already been push back by commercial trollers against one proposal to delay the commercial season opener later than July 1.
“I’m all for conservation if it means supporting the future of our fishery,” Petersburg fisherman Mark Roberts testified Tuesday. “But disrupting our season unnecessarily is an unfair burden for the trollers to bear.”
The Alaska Trollers Association wants the board to create more opportunities to catch coho salmon. The ATA argues that coho would give some relief to trollers who may suffer from tighter restrictions on the harvest of kings.
Public comments were being held again today, and you can listen to more of the hearings at this link.