Fisheries at Lower Cook Inlet take center stage next week when the state Board of Fisheries meets in Seward.

The seven member board sets the rules for subsistence, commercial, sport, and personal use fisheries in every Alaska region on a three year cycle. This cycle through March will focus on lower and upper Cook Inlet, Kodiak, plus statewide crab and supplemental items.

In Seward, the Board will address 47 proposals for Lower Cook Inlet fisheries.

Special RSW deals till the end of the year!

Six deal with local hatcheries with most asserting that local operations release too many tiny pink salmon that pose risks to local wild stocks.

One far reaching proposal, number 22, asks the Board to put a cap on the numbers of fish that hatchery operators can catch and sell for cost recovery purposes.

Tina Fairbanks, director of the Kodiak Regional Aquaculture Association, explains.

“In each region where there is an aquaculture association, commercial salmon permit holders have levied a salmon enhancement tax upon themselves from one to three percent. In addition, through statute we’re provided the opportunity to offer a licensing agreement on an annual basis on returning adult salmon to our projects which is a process we call cost recovery. That allows us to recoup our operating expenses. These faculties produce salmon for the common property that include sport, subsistence personal use and commercial fisheries at no cost to the state of Alaska. The revenues generated through commercial harvest landing and fish taxes go back into the communities and state coffers and represent a great return on the state’s initial investment.”

The United Fishermen of Alaska has come out in opposition to all the hatchery proposals.

The program on  How to Navigate the Board Process will again be held on day one during the  lunch break. Glenn Haight is board director –

“What we do is we’ll walk a group through the Board of Fish process – go through the term s, the meeting lay out, how it moves from staff reports to public testimony, to committee and deliberations and just tell them where they want to fit in  and get their input in and how to provide more effective testimony, how to speak to board members and make a strong impact ,and just make them more familiar with it.” 

The Fish Board meets December 10-13 in Seward at the AVTEC Student Services Center, a new location.