The deadline to submit proposals for regulation changes to state subsistence, personal use, sport and commercial fisheries is April 10. Glenn Haight is Boards Support director –
“It’s for the upcoming meeting season – we’ve got Lower and Upper Cook Inlet, Kodiak finfish and also statewide king and Tanner crab up for review next year by the Board of Fish.”
Proposals on hatcheries also are in the mix, which Haight says is not something new.
At a Board hatchery committee meeting last month, whether hatcheries should be included in the regular call for proposals was discussed. It was pointed out that they already are.
“We have hatchery related proposals that come up every year depending on the meeting location. So it was more clarification – the Chair wanted to clarify that those were part of the normal cycle and whatever is under the Board’s authority as it related to hatcheries can come in.”
Haight says the Board has had limited authority.
“For the board, they’ll deal with things like special harvest areas, terminal harvest areas, in Southeast there was an enhancement allocation plan between the three gear groups – so those are the kinds of things the Board might weigh in on.”
The Fish Board has statutory authority to modify a production permit from a hatchery, as was petitioned last year, but Haight says that has never been done before.
“So there aren’t any regulations on that because it hasn’t been done and it was not quite clear if the board did want to do it, how it would be done. But at the end of the day they did not approve those petitions so nothing changed. But that’s another area that’s out there under board authority that really hasn’t been tested yet.”
Haight says usually a third to 40 percent of proposals come in on the deadline day. Typically, between 170 to 250 proposals come in from Upper Cook Inlet alone.
Regarding Governor Dunleavy’s plans to cut the board’s travel budget by 50 percent, Haight says it’s too soon to soon to tell.
“We really aren’t approaching those yet until we learn what we have to deal with in terms of funding. Once we get that final number, to the extent that it might dramatically change things, we’ll have to pull both boards together and ask them about any schedule changes they might want. We just don’t know. But if there were dramatic cuts things would change but we’re not there.”