New fisheries restrictions will hurt fishing families

I have to admit I wasted some time this winter. Last month, for example, I wasted two weeks at a meeting where the two critical decisions made could have been made in two hours.

The Anchorage Board of Salmon Re-Allocation chopped setnets to 29 meshes. Driftnetters are now restricted to skinny corridors and empty boxes where fish are usually scarce. Access to abundant red salmon will be severely impacted. 

The Board of Fisheries did not give reasonable consideration of the economic impacts to the two oldest user groups. Instead, the board voted on two board-generated proposals that alter management plans and re-allocate fish in a fully allocated fishery. Sure, according to some, a good board process; to others, however, board-generated proposals are the smoke alarm of a broken public process. 

  While KRSA chairman, Mark Hamilton, declares the board of fish acted “fairly,” his assessment of recent board re-allocations are grand hyperbole and fantasy. Hamilton can opine on what is “fair and balanced.” However, he cannot define what those words mean to commercial fishing families on the Kenai Peninsula.

What is really in the shadows is the red salmon re-allocation both fleets will suffer. These new restrictions will be a hugely damaging experiment.

Said succinctly they are too much.

John McCombs