Now that the summer fishing season is winding down, attention is turning to the 2016 – 17 fishery meeting cycle. Alaska supports robust public input for fisheries management at both the state and federal levels. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit fishery conservation organization, KRSA actively monitors and participates in fisheries management meetings to advocate for sport and personal use fisheries, to promote science-based fish management, and to work towards sustainable harvests while ensuring the conservation of our fishery resources.
The 2016 – 17 fishery meeting cycle has some important issues for consideration that will impact angler access and opportunity, in both our marine and fresh water fisheries. The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) will have a board work session in Soldotna, October 18 – 20, to consider Agenda Change Requests, review Escapement Goals for the upcoming cycle, and to listen to public testimony for the 2017 Upper Cook Inlet meeting.
Every three years, regional fishery meetings are held throughout Alaska, and the 2016 – 17 cycle has both Lower and Upper Cook Inlet on tap. The triennial Lower Cook Inlet finfish meeting will be held in Homer at the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center, November 30 – December 3, 2016. The triennial Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting will be held at the Anchorage Sheraton Hotel February 23 – March 8, 2017. Hundreds of fishery proposals will be under review at both meeting, on all aspects of fisheries management in Cook Inlet. KRSA submitted seven proposals for consideration, which we will expand upon in future e-news.
At the federal level, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets regularly. At their Anchorage meeting, December 6 – 14, final action will be given to the important issue of allocation between commercial and guided sport halibut fisheries. The concept of establishing and empowering a Recreational Quota Entity to purchase and hold commercial fishing quota for the guided sport fishery, through a willing seller, willing buyer model of compensated reallocation. The goal is to allow the RQE to purchase commercial quota on the open market, so as to increase available allocation for anglers on charter boats to better maintain traditional bag limits.
The Southcentral Regional Advisory Council of the Federal Subsistence Board will be considering 2017 – 2019 fishery proposals at its fall meeting in Anchorage, October 18 – 19, 2016. Under consideration is a series of proposals regarding the suitability of the use of gillnets as a means of subsistence harvest in the Kenai and Kasilof federal subsistence fisheries.
Important Calendar Dates for Upcoming 2016-17 Fishery Meeting Cycle
October 4 BOF Comments due for Work session (ACRs, stocks of concern, etc.)
October 18 – 19 Southcentral RAC fall meeting
October 18 BOF Public Hearing – Soldotna Sports Center
October 18 – 20 Work Session-Soldotna Sports Center
November 15 BOF Comments due for LCI Finfish proposals
Nov 30 – Dec 3 Lower Cook Inlet BOF Finfish meeting at Homer Islands & Oceans Visitor Center
December 6 – 14 NPFMC meeting in Anchorage
February 9 BOF Comments due for UCI Finfish proposals
February 13 – 14 Southcentral C RAC spring meeting
February 23 – March 8 BOF Upper Cook Inlet Finfish meeting at Anchorage Sheraton Hotel