Photo credit:



Next month the state Board of Fisheries will begin its cycle that includes more than 280 regulatory proposals for commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries in state waters, meaning out to three miles.

First up is Prince William Sound along with the upper Copper and Susitna rivers with meetings set for November 30 through December 6 in Cordova.

Covid protections will require that all attendees register to help with contact tracing and an oversight group will decide what other measures might be required.

At a work session last week  Board director Glenn Haight said Cordova would be requiring masks when walking around the convention center.

“I’m expecting that there’ll be some people who aren’t going to want to conform to the mitigation measures that we put in place and we have to have them do that. Otherwise, you know we talked about various enforcement actions and what we would do. It could be that we stop the meeting but to the extent we don’t have your support, I don’t know if it’s going to be very easy to conduct these meetings.”

Mӓrit Carlson-Van Dort of Anchorage is Fish Board chair –

“We want to try and make sure that we’re still providing that public process and that transparency and that opportunity that the Board of Fisheries is so well known for, but we also want to make sure that we’re being respectful of the host community and the host facility. So to the extent that we can make sure that the guidance and the rules are very, very clear and are published in advance for people, I really would like to make sure that we’re doing that.”

As the Sitka Fish & Game Advisory Committee began weekly meetings to review Fish Board proposals coming up in early January, it went on record in a letter asking federal managers to reduce bycatch in a decision due in December.

Eric Jordan is committee chair –

“I move that the Sitka Advisory Committee comment to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council that we favor, reducing halibut bycatch as much as possible as soon as possible. Additionally, we feel bycatch of other species, such as salmon and shellfish need to be reduced as much as possible as soon as possible.”

What’s likely the most succinct bycatch comment ever made comes from committee chair, Heather Bauscher, read by KCAW’s Robert Woolsey

  “It should not be up to the small boat fleet to carry the burden of the trawl fleet’s inability to catch their target species without collateral damage.”