Fisheries team identifies top priorities for Gov. Walker
January 22, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – The top five fisheries priority from Gov. Walker’s transition team. More after this —
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In November, newly elected Governor Bill Walker gathered more than 250 Alaskans into Transition Teams to identify the top five priorities in a wide range of categories, the barriers to success and ways to overcome them. A 25 member Fisheries Team included 25 commercial, sport, subsistence and science stakeholders.
All the reports are out. Topping the Fish Team’s list of priorities is the need for a clear “fish first” policy for Alaska.
They recommend re-enacting the Coastal Zone Management Program, and that no significant loss of fish habitat should knowingly be permitted in the state.
Roadblocks to success are cited as lack of scientific data due to lack of money, and subversion of science to politics. The team said fish and fishermen in Alaska are viewed as barriers to development, and that there is “irreplaceable optimism” that fish can coexist with development at any scale. They called it a “myth” that fish, nature or habitat can be recreated, or wild runs replaced with hatchery fish.
Number two on the list is to prioritize and improve fishery access for Alaskans. That includes creating state funds or Fishery Trusts to recapture fishing licenses or permits with a subset for young entries, allowing “community entities” to do the same, and making it easier for small scale processors and marketers.
Adequate funding for ADF&G and fisheries science is ranked as the #3 priority.
Number four is that fisheries should be managed based on science over politics, with several suggestions for Board of Fish reforms.
Finally, the team prioritized locally based, adaptive fisheries management. They recommend that area managers be based year round in the regions they manage, and that lawmakers and administrators should get out and listen to Alaskans in far flung places.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at www.oceanbeauty.com .. In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.