Contentious resolution on Tutka Bay hatchery fails

The Homer City Council had 22 items on the agenda for its regular meeting on Monday night, but one item, Resolution 17-002, “supporting sustainable fisheries in Kachemak Bay through fisheries enhancement and habitat rehabilitation,” led to more than an hour of public testimony, all of it during the “public comments upon matters already on the agenda” portion of the meeting.

That resolution sought council support for Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association efforts in the Leisure and Hazel Lakes sockeye salmon stocking and the Tutka Bay pink salmon and sockeye salmon stocking.

The Tutka Bay project got the most criticism. CIAA proposes moving pink salmon fish rearing pens from Tutka Bay Lagoon to the head of Tutka Bay, where fry would imprint and return to that area instead of the lagoon, not mixing with other salmon stocks and making fishing easier. The net pens would be set up from mid-March to mid-June.

Most of the nearly 30 people testifying spoke in favor of the resolution.

“That’s the issue of what we’re describing here. It’s not something new. It’s a way of being more
effective,” said commercial fisherman Glenn Carroll.

Kachemak Bay State Park advocates said the net pens would harm the scenic and recreational values of the park. Kirsten Dixon, co-owner of Tutka Bay Lodge, a high-end lodge visited by affluent guests like the King of Norway, said the net pens would be detrimental to her clients’ wilderness experience.

“I feel, however, if the hatchery efforts spill out beyond the lagoon, the ‘natural zone’ nature of the Bay will turn into something quite unnatural and something quite unaesthetic,” she said.

Others urged the council to avoid a potentially divisive issue.

“You’re in a tough spot,” said Alan Parks, a former commercial fisherman. “The way this is put before you, it’s put before you in a contentious way.”

Parks proposed some changes to the resolution, but the council chose not to tinker with it. Council member David Lewis introduced the resolution, but said he would vote against it. That caused council member Tom Stroozas to ask why he would vote against a resolution he introduced.

“I will bring any resolution someone brings me and let it stand on its own merits,” Lewis said. “This is local government. … They have a right as a voter to have that resolution brought forward.”

Lewis moved to postpone a vote on the resolution until the next council meeting, when council member Catriona Reynolds would return from vacation. She did not attend Monday’s meeting. With he and council member Donna Aderhold saying they’d vote against the resolution, Lewis said he felt postponing it would at least give the resolution a full hearing and vote — and allow Mayor Bryan Zak to vote in the event of a 3-3 tie. The motion to postpone failed 3-2, with council members Shelly Erickson and Stroozas opposed. Although a majority voted in favor, council rules require four affirmative votes for an action to pass. The resolution itself also got three votes, with Lewis and Aderhold opposed, but again failed for lack of four votes.

In other action, the council:

• Introduced on first reading an ordinance that would remove prohibitions on public commenting such as making personal, threatening, impertinent or slanderous remarks or becoming boisterous. The city attorney recommended deleting that section because it would violate freedom of speech. That ordinance comes up for second reading and action at the Jan. 23 meeting.

• Renewed a lease with Icicle Seafoods that no longer grants special conditions the company enjoyed when it operated a processing plant before it burned down in 1998. The new lease is the same as other general leases on the Spit;

• Approved a resolution for an automatic aid agreement between the Homer Volunteer Fire Department and Kachemak Emergency Services. Under that agreement, KES will send a ladder truck whenever a fire call comes in for the city central business district, and

• Passed on second reading an ordinance clarifying that the mayor has the right to cast a tie-breaking vote even when attending telephonically.

The council next meets at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 for its regular meeting in the Cowles Council Chambers, Homer City Hall.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at

More in News

Clem Tillion of Halibut Cove poses for a photo on Jan. 9, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. The veteran Alaska legislator was passing through Homer while waiting to take the M/V Tustumena ferry to Kodiak. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Clem Tillion, PFD founder and former legislator, dies at 96

Tillion died Wedneday, Oct. 13, at Halibut Cove home.

Thunder Mountain High School on April 18.  Earlier this fall, vandalism including stolen soap dispensers and toilets clogged with foreign objects such as paper towel rolls were a problem at schools nationwide and in Juneau. But, principals say the local situation is improving. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
After brief surge, vandalism subsiding at local high schools

Principals say internet trends, stress likely behind incidents.

In this Jan. 8, 2020, photo Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, heads to a briefing on Capitol Hill in Washington. An Alaska man faces federal charges after authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill Murkowski, according to court documents unsealed Wed., Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite,File)
Delta Junction man faces charges over threatening Murkowski’s life

Authorities allege he threatened to hire an assassin to kill the senator.

Donna Aderhold recites the Homer City Council oath of office and is sworn in for duty at the city council meeting on Oct. 11. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
New council members sworn into duty Monday

Newly-elected Homer City Council members Shelly Erickson and Jason Davis and re-elected… Continue reading

Runners participate in boys varsity race at the Ted McKenney XC Invitational on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The trails recently reported incidents of vandalism and theft. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Vandalism and theft reported at Tsalteshi Trails

One trail user reported stolen skis recently and multiple signs have been defaced.

At left Bonita Banks, RN, Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) nurse at Homer Medical Center, and at right, Annie Garay, RN, Community Health Educator, pose for a photo at South Peninsula Hospital on Sept. 27, 2021, at Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Derotha Ferraro/South Peninsula Hospital)
New hospital community health educator starts

Garay, a Homer raised nurse, came home to ride out COVID-19, wound up doing pandemic nursing.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Montessori school goes to universal indoor masking

As of Tuesday, eight KPBSD schools were operating with universal indoor masking for staff and students.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Crabbers look at cuts to quotas

Tanner, opilio crab quotas cut on top of cancellation of fall king crab fishery.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Judge sides with psychiatrists who alleged wrongful firing

Two psychiatrists said they were wrongfully fired when Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy took office.

Most Read