The state Board of Fisheries (BOF) meetings are not only dealing with Covid derailments, but also by conflicts from fishery openers. Increasing Covid rates caused the board to postpone its meeting set for January 4-15 in Ketchikan, where it planned to address 157 Southeast and Yakutat fish and shellfish proposals, and move it to March 10-22 at the Egan Center in Anchorage.
Those dates occur at the same time that halibut, sablefish and herring fisheries will be underway, and the busy Southeast troll fishery for winter king salmon is wrapping up.
“It leaves trollers with a really no-win choice of staying in town or going to Anchorage or getting that last trip in between the 10th and the 15th of March, which last year was the most lucrative trip of the winter season,” Matt Donohoe told KFSK in Petersburg.
To accommodate the tail end of the troll fishery, the BOF will take up salmon related commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use proposals from March 18 – 22.
“Placing salmon-related issues at the end of the meeting also better aligns participants with the board’s Hatchery Committee which was and remains scheduled in Anchorage on a new date of March 23,” said board director Glenn Haight in announcing the changes.
The tentative order to accommodate other fishing openers is March 10-13 for herring and March 14-17 for groundfish and shellfish.
In recognition of the difficulties for some Southeast residents to travel to Anchorage, the board will take remote public testimony at select ADF&G Southeast offices. Locations will be announced prior to the meeting but people wishing to testify remotely must sign-up by March 3. An online registration platform will soon be posted on the BOF meeting page.
The board also has rescheduled its statewide shellfish meeting to March 26-April 2 in Anchorage where it will consider 45 proposals.
The meetings are open to the public and a live audio stream will be available on the BOF website. Written comments for the Southeast meeting has been extended and can be submitted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 23.