Salmon protections not updated since 1960
January 6, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska salmon protections have not been updated since statehood. More after this —
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The law that relates to how development permits are issued in fish habitat areas has not been reviewed or updated for nearly 60 years.
“The law we have right now that direct Fish and Game in terms of how they will be permitting projects in fish habitat was written the year after statehood and it has not had any substantive updates since then.”
Lindsey Bloom is one of a dozen commercial and sport fishermen and biologists asking for a review of the permitting process. Last month the group proposed that the Board of Fish send a letter asking the legislature to update Title 16, the statute that outlines the responsibilities of the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game when issuing development permits that could impact those resources.
Bloom and others believe the language of the law is extremely vague and open ended.
“It has broad language that directs the commissioner of fish and game to issue a permit so long as the project will provide for the proper protection of fish and game. It doesn’t have anything after that to be specific about what the proper protection of Fish and Game is.”
The size of some development projects being proposed and considered today were not on the radar screen at Statehood.
“ I’m talking about Pebble and Susitna and Chuitna and really large scale projects, any person can see it’s going to have significant impacts on fish and game. And how do regulators in Alaska determine what the proper protection is.”
The Board of Fish letter outlines three concepts: improving the public notification and public comment process; the presumption of anadromous waters, meaning where salmon return home from the sea to breed; and the need for better defined enforceable standards. The board has agreed to send the letter; all that’s needed is a final nod at the Kodiak meeting next week.
“So our request to the Board of Fish is to encourage the legislature to do it”.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, an Alaska corporation proudly supporting Alaska’s coastal communities and the Alaskans who depend on fishing for their livelihoods and culture. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.