Editor's note: This is the sixth story in the Morris Communications series "The case for conserving the Kenai king salmon." Find previous stories online at www.peninsulaclarion.com.
A last-minute decision within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and a deviation from how area biologists have traditionally communicated with commercial fishermen has Kasilof setnetters concerned about how the rest of their season will be managed.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is currently taking public input on a management plan it hopes will better sustain a healthy halibut population in the central Gulf of Alaska and Southeast fisheries.
As became clear at last Friday's informational meeting on the halibut catch sharing plan, charter captains really don't like the proposal that could cut the daily bag limit for guided sport fishermen to one halibut a day.For good reason. The proposal raises more questions than it answers.Without clear answers to those questions, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce should either kill the proposal or send the issue of halibut allocation back to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council for more work.
The Homer City Council on Monday night recognized that in this community's diverse maritime economy, city officials and representatives shouldn't take sides in fish allocation disputes.
A U.S. Marine and owner of halibut quota summed it up best in his comments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council about the ongoing allocation fight among commercial and charter sectors. "This isn't the Iraq war," wrote Dustin Connor, "but it sure has gone on longer." Indeed, it has been 19 years since the council formed its first charter workgroup to address the emerging conflicts between the historically commercial fishery and the burgeoning recreational sector.
Except for Tustumena, lake water in Kasilof has put on its winter coat and will be hibernating many months. With the water sleeping its summer range becomes flat and skateable. Caution, however, merits a minimum ice thickness of six inches for skating and eight inches for parties.
Southcentral halibut charter boat clients could soon be changing their plans now that the International Pacific Halibut Commission has limited them to catching just one fish per day during the last two weeks in June.
When Jim Hubbard of Seward got a call from the state capitol a couple weeks ago asking if he would consider a position on the North Pacific Fishery Management council he was flabbergasted.
Depending on the size of the total allowable halibut catch, local fishermen could see limits stay the same or reduced to one fish a day or two fish with one fish a limited size.
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