Fishery managers are busy planning on how budget cuts from Governor Dunleavy’s back and forth veto volleys will play out across Alaska.  The commercial fisheries division of the Alaska Dept. of Fish was cut by about one million dollars. Doug Vincent-Lang is ADF&G commissioner.

“So we’re taking a good close look at this now that the season is over. We operated as we did last season and what we’re going to put in the water next season will be.”

Some layoffs are likely and there could be staff cuts –

“As we running through the process and as people retire we probably will not be filling some of those positions in order to save money and we’ll be consolidating different groups across the state all in an effort to kind of keep as much as we can going that is mission critical in terms of work out in the field. Because the less information we have the more precautionary we’ll become in our management.”

The budget cuts $258,000 for surveys and stock assessment in Southeast, $240,000 in Southcentral, $300,000 from the AYK Region, and $200,000 from the Westward Region.

“We have a preliminary list of some of those projects which include some of the Bering Sea juvenile chinook trawl survey work. We may do fewer surveys out in the marine environment or we may do them shorter durations. We may end up with some of our weirs in the Susitna drainage being operated less often or maybe relying on fewer of them to estimate sockeye abundance up in the Susitna river drainage. We may end up doing some of the sonars for a shorter duration. Some of the Test line fisheries in Cook Inlet, for instance, may run rather than through August 15 may run through August 7.”

Tanner crab surveys at Prince William Sound could get the axe. Salmon weirs at Kodiak and Chignik may be reduced along with various groundfish stock assessment projects.

Cut by 50 percent were state travel funds for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and all ADF&G divisions. Not cut were travel funds for members of advisory committees to the Boards of Fisheries and Game. Special assistant to the commissioner Rick Green credited the governor for “seeing the value of the local citizens involvement.”

Funding for directors of the state habitat and subsistence divisions, totaling about $400,000, was rolled into the Office of Management and Budget. Vincent-Lang says he opted to not fill those positions and turned the two divisions into “sections” to be able to retain more staff. Both sections still report to ADF&G.

“If I had filled the director positions, which I had a choice to do, I would’ve had to absorb those costs within those two sections.  So I probably would have lost two permitters out of habitat and probably two staff members that go out and conduct community surveys in the subsistence division just to have a director to fill in those roles. So I wanted to keep those two functions complete within the ADFG so I chose not to fill the director positions.”

 

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