gillnet jackpot

Alaska’s bounty; who owns it/Wikimedia Commons


An Alaskan who 35 years ago led a push to repeal the state’s subsistence priority law because he thought it a bad way to allocate wild, fish and game resources is back with complaints about another priority – this one defacto, not legal.

Former gubernatorial candidate Ron Somerville, now 80,  is taking issue with the way commercial interests drive the regulation-setting Alaska Board of Fisheries.

“Since I grew up in a commercial fishing community before Statehood and participated in the debate over the limited entry proposal prior to 1977, ” Somerville said in an email that went out to members of the Alaska Outdoor Council over the weekend, “we were aware of the potential abuses of the program.  However, everyone was assured that the limited-entry permit system would not jeopardize the common-property owners of the resource from accessing those resources.

“Clearly that is not the case anymore as limited-entry permit owners have concluded that their expensive limited-entry permits guarantee them total ownership of the various stocks that are heavily utilized.”

He then offered a sure-to-be politically explosive solution to members of the state’s largest, organized hunting and fishing organization:

Convince the Legislature to enact a law limiting commercial fisheries to half the catch in areas where subsistence, sport and personal-use fishermen are capable of catching the rest.  The former director of the Wildlife Division in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game sees this as the necessary counter-balance to limited entry.

A legally mandated set aside of fish for non-commercial interests would change little in some parts of the state and a whole lot in others.

In Bristol Bay, where the red salmon return is in the tens of millions, the needs of subsistence, sport and commercial fisheries are small. Bristol Bay is the state’s most valuable salmon fishery.

Thirty-eight-million sockeye were caught there last summer and another 19 million – millions more than were needed for spawning – went up regional rivers and streams. Non-commercial interests couldn’t have caught all the surplus even if they’d tried.

What is the case for the Bay would also be largely the case for most of Prince William Sound, which each year gets swarmed with tens of millions of hatchery pink salmon little desired by non-commercial fishermen.

Meanwhile, king salmon in the Kuskowkim River in Western Alaska are already fully allocated to subsistence fishermen, the commercial king fishery there having died long ago. And commercial fisheries for the other species of Kusko salmon are small.

Flash points

But there are other fisheries – some in Southeast, others in Cook Inlet and on the Copper River in Eastern Alaska – that could be radically altered by a proposal like Somerville’s.

The commercial catch of sockeye in Cook Inlet last year was 1.8 million fish, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. It was the lowest catch in 10 years, but it was still about twice the sockeye harvest by subsistence, sport and personal-use fishermen. The numbers for the latter catches aren’t in yet, but they are expected to total about a million.

One of the biggest components of the non-commercial sockeye catch is the Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery, which suffered last year because of the efforts of Fish and Game to use commercial nets to crop off the early return of Kenai reds. 

And then there were the Matanuska-Susitna Borough streams and rivers at the head of the Inlet. They are at the mercy of commercial nets from Homer north. Fishermen of all sorts in the Mat-su ended up with only a tiny fraction of the 1.2 million salmon over-and-above the sockeye harvest caught by commercial nets in the Inlet.

Sport, personal-use and subsistence data for the entire Inlet is still being compiled, but the total catch for all these fisheries is unlikely to climb above 1. 5 million. At that level, the math puts the commercial catch at 66 percent or more and everyone else at 33 percent or less.

Non-commercial fishermen in and around Cook Inlet have for years been complaining they don’t get their fair share of the regions salmon.

Somerville suggested that in fisheries covered by limited-entry regulations, commercial interests “cannot be allocated more than 50 percent of a harvestable stock or stocks unless the other common-property, non-commerical users, including licensed non-resident users, are unable to utilize the remainder of the harvestable stock or stocks.”

Such a proposal is given little chance of going anywhere soon in the Alaska Legislature, where commercial fishing interests have long held sway, but the 49th state has changed significantly since limited entry was instituted in the early 1970s.

Who owns the fish?


The “limited-entry proposal” to which Somerville refered is a state Constitutional amendment Alaskans approved in 1972 to allow a cap to be placed on the number of people allowed to commercial fish in the 49th state.

Out of that came the state’s Limited Entry Law. It laid the groundwork to control the number of fishermen participating in various state fisheries.  The program began with setting permit levels. It then scored fishermen on the basis of their histories and  investments in the fisheries and handed out free permits to those with the highest scores.

The permits became the property of the commercial fishermen to whom they were first awarded. Not many stayed with their original honors. The ink was hardly dry on the limited entry law before fishermen were busy buying and selling permits.

They are now constantly on the market. A Bristol Bay drift gillnet permit goes for $160,000 to $170,000, a Southeast seine permit for $250,000. They are at the upper end of the range. A Norton Sound herring permit can be bought for only $1,000, but harvests in the fishery are low, and the fish are not worth much.

Alaska Boats & Permits, a permit brokerage, at the moment list dozens of permits for sale. Permit prices have fluctuated wildly over the years, but as more and more have moved into the hands of people who invested significant amounts of money to buy them, the pressure from commercial fishermen to maintain the lion’s share of the Alaska catch has steadily intensified.

Those fishermen argue that it’s not fair to shift catches from long-established commercial fisheries to subsistence, personal-use and sport fisheries just because the Alaska population is growing, and tourism has become a viable business in the north.

Non-commercial interests counter that it’s not fair to give commercial fishing interests 95 percent of the state’s fish just because commercial fishermen can afford expensive permits and high-paid lobbyists.

Of late, the commercial interests have been winning the debate. In March of last year, the Board of Fish shifted some of the Cook Inlet salmon catch from non-commercial interests to commercial interests with Board Chairman John Jensen observing that he wanted to “allocate some more fish to the commercial fishermen who, in my opinion, gave them up.”


Cook Inlet, the water body at Anchorage’s front door, is the site of the most contentious and longest-running fish war in the state. Jensen is a commercial fisherman from Petersburg in the Alaska Panhandle. 

He is at the center of the latest blow-up over the power of commercial fishing interests, but the dispute itself revolves around a sport fishery in which the catch is, by Alaska standards, tiny.

Trash fish

When the Fish Board met in Sitka, just a little west of Jensen’s hometown, in January, the board chairman pushed for a radical cap on the harvest of black cod by non-resident anglers. Black cod, or sablefish, were once considered a trash fish in most of the state, but some anglers in recent years have begun keeping some.

The catch has been driven in part by onerous bag limits on rod-and-reel caught halibut in the Southeast region and in part by shifting culinary standards.

Chef Gabriela “Cámara made rockfish ceviche and black cod adobo tacos. The black cod had been wrapped in fibers from cactus leaves, buried and pit cooked with the cactus; it was rich and smoky and totally sublime, but I balked at calling these wonderful fish ‘trash,'” Maria Finn wrote at Civil Eats in 2015. “I talked to her about it, and she agreed 100 percent. But the question is: What else should we call them? Underutilized isn’t sexy, bycatch is too political. Fish-without-a-market? Under-loved?”

Under-loved might be a term still applied to the fish in the Southeast sport fishery. Residents and non-resident anglers combine to catch just over 12,000 black cod per year in the “southern southeast inside” sport fishery the board decided to limit, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The commercial catch in the area is over 502,000.

“From 2011-15, the sablefish bycatch mortality was higher than the guided recreational catch,” said Samantha Weinstein of SEAGO, a regional charter group. Bycatch mortality is a measure of the fish escaping commercial fishing gear only to die. Some might consider that waste, but in the ocean there really is no waste. Everything becomes food for something else.

The waste in this case is more likely in catching the fish commercially and shipping them south to be eaten instead of flying fishermen north to Alaska to catch their own fish and take them home to eat. A host of studies of fisheries around the world have concluded that labor-intensive sport fisheries reap more value from the resource than efficient commercial fisheries.

Whether that is the case with the black-cod fishery in question is, however, an unknown. The Alaska Board of Fisheries undertakes no analysis of economic impacts before deciding fishery allocations.

In this case, the Board decided to arbitrarily impose a four-black cod per day limit on non-resident fishermen with a seasonal limit of only eight fish even though state fisheries biologists said there was no biological reason to do so.

Jensen didn’t care.

“I think it’s time to make everybody have limits,” Sitka’s KCAW radio reported him saying. “The personal use people have limits. The commercial fishery have limits. Why can’t we just give it to everybody. The stock has been declining for quite some time. I know the department doesn’t have any biological concerns. But the trend is down, so I’m going to support annual limits.”

Three other board members with ties to commercial fishing interests voted with him to pass the measure four to three.

“The commercial fleet argued that there was cause to put an annual limit in place…because this is a ‘fully utilized’ fishery, as they are allocated and use 98 percent of the harvest and paid a significant amount for their permits,” Weinstein said.  “This is dangerously close to, if not actually, arguing that this fishery is no longer available for the common use of the people.”

Somerville, who was at the board meeting, saw no “if not actually.” The vote was to him the simple privatization of an Alaska common-property resource, or what was once and is legally still supposed to be a common-property resource.

“While about 1 percent is harvested by the non-commercial uses, including non-residents, the industry was adamant that the fishery was 100 percent allocated and no additional allocation should be given to the sport or subsistence harvest,” he wrote in his email. “Frankly, I was stunned.  Although we have all seen this abuse in other competitive fisheries, this was clearly the worst I had witnessed.”

What happened, he argued, should serve as a wake-up call for every non-commercial fisherman in the state.

“…The public needs to realize that their access to their resources has been severely compromised,” he wrote.

A 50-50 split for commercial and non-commercial fisheries, he added, was just a starting point for discussion. It could be adjusted up or down, he added, and in fisheries where the commercial harvest is in need of significant reduction, changes should be instituted over the long term.

This is the full text of his what Somerville suggested in his email:

“Fisheries subjected to limited entry permits cannot be allocated more than 50% of a harvestable stock or stocks unless the other common property non-commercial users, including licensed non-resident users, are unable to utilize the remainder of the harvestable stock or stocks.  The Department of Fish and Game may be delegated the authority by the Board of Fisheries to make in-season adjustments to allocate under-utilized stocks and provide for specific short-term adjustments to support the maximum sustained yield of a specific stock.” If the commercial fishery is unable to utilize their Board of Fisheries authorized allocation, the surplus allocation may be reallocated to the other common property non-commercial users.  For those fisheries where the commercial harvest consistently exceeds 50% and the documented non-commercial demand forces the Board of Fisheries to reduce the commercial harvest, the reduction in the commercial harvest will be systematically reduced over a 10 year period.  The State is authorized under these circumstances to initiate a limited entry permit buy-back process.”











gillnet jackpot

38 replies »

  1. You guys can argue forever about who should or shouldn’t get Alaska’s fish and you will never
    even come close to addressing all the fisheries problems. You are delusional if you believe you can fix any of these problems by re-shuffling the fisheries allocation deck. Alaska’s fisheries resources harvested by anything but commercial fishing, is insignificant and sustainable. As soon as you activate that first commercial user you have changed that equation from sustainable management to unsustainable management, it’s just a matter of time before you realize what you’ve done.

    Non-sustainability must be reached eventually because you connected killing a fish to money. The reason fish killing and money cannot be connected without eventual resource destruction is because “there is no such thing as enough money” therefore “there is also no such thing as enough fish”. When money and fish are connected in the mind of a person, greed can then be directly attached to killing fish. It doesn’t matter who’s doing the killing commercial nets or charter rods & reels. The love of money becomes “the love of killing fish for money” and that killing will eventually destroy the resource.

    Alaska attempted to disprove the “money, fish connection” with its commercial fish trap experiment. When Alaska’s fisheries resources
    vanished rather than acknowledging the fish and money error Alaska banned the traps instead. Then Alaska tried to disprove the money, fish connection with its current commercial gill net experiment. When Alaska’s fisheries resources
    vanished rather than acknowledging the fish and money error Alaska will ban the nets instead. It seems there will always be another commercial gear type experiment along with an eventual ban, unfortunately Alaska’s dwindling fisheries resources probably won’t be around for the next glorious gear type experiment.

  2. And not one of you have read Bill Egans letter of July 12, 1974, from Jackman, Rickey, and Stovall, and the original book of regulations mailed out to all Alaska Commercial Fisherman. The original 8 Distressed Fisheries, including the Gillnet, in S.E., PWS, Cook Inlet, False Pass, & Bristol bay have also been ignored by a bunch of drunks from the Texas oil industry in Juneau, along with the set net cards, in Cook Inlet & Bristol Bay under 20 AAC 05.200. One seine fishery, designated as Distressed, the Kodiak Model, is still Distressed. Of course the Corrupt Bastards Club in Room 604 of the Baranof Hotel, also had a raid, at UFA Headquarters, as related to an illegal buyback program, that contains “NO” Optimum Number Study, are a requirement of Law in the Limited Entry Act. This state sucked on oil for 50 years, and it’s the exact same issue with personal use, where any old Texan, with his big fancy motorhome will destroy every fishery in the World, because he’s too stupid to read, breed, or even seed. Salmon are NONRESIDENTS, and that Fundamental Right to Travel, also explained by Bushrod Washington in his fishing case of 1823, explain DunLeavy, Sara Palin, and Bill Clinton, in WHITE TRASH, a book by Nancy Isemberg.

  3. One of the things that the greens have done over the years is purchase land and put into public trust or give it to the states or feds to manage as wilderness areas.

    Perhaps it is time to start purchasing commercial permits and retiring them. The fewer nets in the water, the more fish hit the fresh water. Over time we solve the problem, hopefully before the commfish boys and girls wipe out entire runs. Cheers –

      • Nature conservancy has been doing this for a long time, purchasing private lands and easements and conveying them to the public sector. Might be an approach.

        Another approach would be to repeal state prohibition against fish farming and start trading limited entry permits for offshore acreage for pens.

        Do both and we might be on to something. Cheers –

      • You are dreaming, right. State of Washington (only west coast state that allows farmed salmon) is in the process of getting those net pens out of their waters due to Cooke Aquaculture’s negligence. Chances of Alaska allowing fish farming are zero.

  4. Somerville is not seeing how the fish management variables have changed over his life. No Kenai River dip netting entitlement massacre of salmon in early days. Too many dip netters today. Solution is simple. Have a lottery for dip netting. Limit dipnet harvesting like most every other mode of fish and game harvesting is lomited in Alaska.

    • Those dip netting numbers are factored into the river’s “upriver needs” for both the Kenai and Copper Rivers. Any limiting of those fish would be cause for some serious objections from Alaskan residents who harvest them. Who would you allocate them to, James?? I can just see the bitching if they were given back to gillnet fleet. Some on here would just love to give them to guided sport or personal use folks.
      Wouldn’t fly politically IMO. Just ask Roland Maw how things shook out when he suggested dropping the family allocation from 25 reds to 15.
      They’ve been allocated, politically, and no getting them back IMO.

    • James: excuse me? “like most every other mode of fish and game harvested is limited?” more than 95 percent of the salmon catch in Alaska is commercial. there is no individual limit on how many fish they can catch; there are already individual limits on dipnetters. and yes, there was no dip-netting entitlement in the early days, but that’s because people just went down to the Kenai and snagged all the sockeye salmon they wanted to eat. that is in many cases more efficient than dipnetting. but snagging was banned, and we ended up where we are now.

    • And just so everyone else reading here knows, Thomas Tomrdle is Cook Inlet driftnet permit 59464J. Buying a limited entry permit has a bad habit of focusing people on how they can make the most money killing fish next year while blinding them to the long term issues facing Alaska fisheries. From that base are born these sorts of pointless comments. Name calling is easy. The discussion of how Alaska should manage its fisheries for maximum value going forward is difficult and complicated. I empathize with your problem, Tom; Cook Inlet drift permits are seriously oversubscribed. Someday the masses will figure out that they’re giving up fish and fishing opportunity just so a handful of commercial fishermen can make a few thousand dollars extra every summer, and the revolution will begin. I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t happened already. It would probably be easier to vote limited entry out now than it was to vote it in back in the 1970s, but you weren’t around then so you wouldn’t know.

      • The revolution is beginning to get some steam. When Dunleavy gets elected the revolution will have its leader. There will
        Be a new Commissioner, Directors, some senior staff and new BOF members all of which will work to maintain sustainability and then work for the many and not the few. Anyone who thinks dip netting on the Kenai will be seriously restricted or going away is wrong. The personal use fishery does more for a larger group of Alaskans than the commercial fisheries in the Inlet. Mess with it at your peril. Ask a couple former BOF members who tried and then lost confirmation.
        Those who post insults are simply showing that they recognize the hand writing on the wall and they know that their monopoly is about to go away.

      • Alaskans First,
        Are you the “Alaska Policy Forum” crew?
        Your comment might make sense then…
        “The revolution is under way…Mike Dunleavy will be the new leader”
        Who else could possibly think a; a revolution is possible and b; mike would be the leader.
        If you are policy forum crew, you should be as Transparent as the government you look to bring out the “transparency” in?

  5. The Salmon fishing in the Mat Su last year was the worst I have ever seen it.
    You would think the borough would get involved and put some pressure on the board, but no such action.
    Walker figures he will give everyone food stamps and they can buy their frozen Trident fish at Walmart like all the other white trash in America.

      • Actually,
        I believe it is exactly how Craig says in this article, regarding the low salmon returns in the Mat Su… “They are at the mercy of commercial nets from Homer north”.

      • The problem Bill is that 12 years ago I remember anglers “banking” 50 lb Kings on the Little Willow and carrying them to their cars with huge smiles on their faces.
        Last summer, I do not know of any friends who even attempted to fish for kings along the highway (you could not try if you wanted to with F&G’s closures along the Park’s Hwy).
        So unless we are all hypnotized to forget how good the fishing in the Valley was at one point, the truth will be spoken that the returns to these streams are alarming right now from a conservation approach.

      • I’m sure the B of Fish will drop everything they’re doing and be giving you a call. Who would a thunk it that Steve Stine has put his finger on the problem and it is found right there on the Little Willow.
        What happened to those 50 lb kings is (IMO) sort of akin to what happened to Alaska’s $900 million it got for the leasing of Prudhoe Bay. Whatever the problem is, I suspect it is quite complex, but you can count on Steve to give it a simple solution that serves his purpose.

      • Bill,
        Last time I spoke to the Palmer office of F&G, I can reassure you that they are not interested in any of my suggestions…
        As for where the Kings are…maybe you should stop redirection of the problem back to my “purpose” and identify the truth, which is King Salmon returns throughout the state are dangerously low if not on the verge of “Extinction”.

      • Steve, king salmon are not on the verge of extinction anywhere in the State!
        Certain river systems are experiencing king salmon issues, however the Kenai (which was shut down to most sport fishing of them a few years ago) has been fishing them for a couple of years now and the Copper River also has seen a jump up of king salmon returns this last season.
        Southeast is experiencing king salmon return problems in several of its river systems and extreme measures are being taken to attempt to achieve their escapement numbers. These extreme measures have come about due to the Department wanting almost every fish to get through those wanting to harvest them for those few river systems showing the escapement problems.
        Yukon River kings had similar problems a few years ago but they’ve experienced some relief lately. My guess is, until it is determined what is killing king salmon in the ocean, these type of problems will continue. And Steve, it was you who put your finger on your feeling of what the problem is-all I did was point out where you were full of chit.
        Lots of folks are frustrated but to just bullshit your way through a complex situation does nobody any good IMO.

    • Yes, Lets discuss the Dunleavy issue. I am not a big fan – we have time to decide – what do you think about other candidates? Binkley? Who else is out there?

  6. Adult sablefish are found at about 1300-1500 ft., which is not your normal depth for non-resident fishermen IMO. Juvenile fish (about 10-12 inches) can be caught at times with normal spinning gear and I’m not sure which fish type is targeted by these non-residents most likely aboard charter boats. Residents tend to personal use fish them with longline gear but that’s not something to be done with a Lund skiff. Sommerville is clearly reaching here when he suggests concern for the common use of the people IMO.

    • Bill: since there are fewer and fewer Chinook and Halibut, lodges and charters are being forced to target other species. Both non res and res have discovered how tasty Black Cod are and the have developed means and methods to catch them in those depths. Granted there is a small window between tides when the bait can get that deep without being swepted away by the tide. But electric reels make it happen. The harvest by sports users is insignificant and Jensen’s push to limit harvest was short sighted. If there is no biological reason to limit non res sports harvest all he accomplished was to discourage non res dollars coming into Alaska. As usual he voted for commercial interests instead of making decisions based on science.

      • AF, while the proposal didn’t have a biological concern it was felt that a limit should be placed on non-residents. As I understand it, there is also talk of (perhaps even done) limiting the numbers of personal use take of black cod as well.
        I see no problem with a reasonable limit placed on these stocks, before a problem occurs. And I also believe, as you said, because of the problems associated with both king salmon and halibut numbers (and restrictions on them) there would be unnecessarily concentrations on this other quality stock (clearly not a trash fish).
        Are you suggesting that this was an unreasonable limit for non-residents??

      • Maybe not unreasonable but not very well thought out. It is a balance between the harm vs the benefit. Non res tourism brings a lot of money into the state. Kind of like the goose and golden egg. That’s the harm when there is increasing pressure on the charter and lodge’s ability to sell high dollar experiences.
        The benefit is adding protections to a fishery that science says is not necessary at this time. Jensen has in many other cases used the Dept’s position that there was no biological reason to restrict or impose limits on commercial uses to vote against such limits.
        The harvest of Black cod by non res has not gotten out of hand by any means. But Jensen who used to be a Black cod fisher has always argued it is a fully allocated fishery and has always been against increasing sports harvest. And has been in favor of restricting means and methods. This fails to acknowledge the changing demographics of the fishery and the adverse economic impact to many Alaska business with out a corespondending benefit to commercial Black cod fishery. Nothing wrong with a conservative approach when there is a lack of data. That was not the case here IMO.

      • Those are all your opinions AF, but they are just that. This was not any emergency issue, requiring some sort of biological emergency issue, either.
        As someone who has witnessed the charter industry destroy king salmon fishing around Juneau I have little sympathy for their ability to “sell high dollar experiences.” Because they (charter folks) are out there 7 days a week, they are very efficient at what they do and IMO need restrictions. You don’t, tough noogies.
        Granted Juneau’s experience is due to its large numbers of tour ship tourists, who do the half-day charter thing that’s different than the outer coast lodges, the Board just felt the need to limit this newly discovered fishery. For some reason, our quality fish (halibut, king salmon, and now sablefish) are being targeted by those selling “high dollar experiences” and IMO our B of Fish felt the need to control the black cod take by placing a limit on these non-residents before a problem occurs. As someone who sport fishes in SE, I agree with their decision.

      • Geez, Bill. are you telling me you can’t out fish some guided tourists? if that’s the case, just say so.
        but the data doesn’t simply doesn’t support the conclusion anybody “destroyed” anything around Juneau. there’s a pretty obvious Chinook production problem which clearly hasn’t been fixed by steadily falling rod-and-reel harvests. Chinook catches averaged near 13,000 a year from ’96 to 2005. they started falling about a decade ago and for the last decade averaged less than 8,000 with, of course, a lot of the reduction coming in recent years as regulations have been tightened up to reduce the catch by ever more every year. there has been a tiny increase in the Cross Sound/Icy Strait sport catch, but not nearly enough to account for the way Juneau area catch numbers fell.
        you can parse the numbers here:
        i didn’t pull up the commercial data, but you might want to go look at Cross Sound/Icy Strait commercial troll catches because i know those guys were damn efficient at finding fish back in the day. the data actually shocked the ADF&G biologists who did the interception study. the fishery was capable of cutting off a lot of the flow into inside waters.
        as for halibut catches down your way, they’ve stayed in the 15,000 to 25,000 range for decades. but as someone who used to do a lot of halibut fishing down there in the early 1980s, i have no doubt charter boats can sometimes cause localized depletions, as can one longliner with a good set of gear. but halibut are a fish constantly on the move. sometimes they just abandon a once good hot spot; other times they suddenly replenish those depleted hot spots.
        i never much liked charter boats when i lived down there, either. i admit it. i was greedy as hell. i liked anchoring up somewhere and dropping gear where i didn’t have to look at a boat within miles. a bunch of other boats messed up the aesthetics. they still do.
        i think Juneau needs to cap the number of boats allowed out of its harbors on any given day. even if it’s not a problem now, as you observe, control is needed “before a problem occurs.”
        Alaska also needs to build a wall. we’ve seen the problems that occur from people moving north to Alaska. we need a big damn wall to keep them all out. we need to cap the number of people who live in Alaska to “control” that “before an (even bigger) problem occurs.”
        and while we’re at it, i can think of a long list of other things we probably should control before some potential problem occur
        because the list of potential problems is endless. unfortunately, one of the biggest problems facing this state at the moment is a dying economy, and controlling the future to prevent economic evolution has never worked out so well. i almost wrote, “ask the Soviets about that,” but then i realized you can’t ask them because their empire died and fell apart.
        i don’t object to what the Board of Fish did. the Board has broad authority to do as it pleases. i do, however, object to managing any state resource without due consideration of the economic returns to Alaska – something the Board of Fish NEVER considers. if the state had managed its oil resources like it manages its fish, we’d be so broke the Parks Highway would still be a gravel road between Anchorage and Fairbanks and our kids would be going to classes in rundown wooden shacks.

      • Craig, don’t tell me that you think you could outfish those charter guys on the Kenai, hauling around tourists! Charter fleets are very efficient at what they do-they work hard at it and were rarely restricted, hence the problems associated with them IMO.
        I only mentioned king salmon, around Juneau, but they (charter guys) target halibut, too and they have been overfishing their quotas and have also been restricted. No doubt the troll fleet can also catch king salmon and if you look at what the B of Fish did to the troll fleet its pretty hard to convince them of any bias for commercial guys. Also, gillnetters have been hit in any area that could possibly intercept king salmon bound for about five rivers in SE that are a serious problem. The situation is complex, for sure, but some of these kings don’t go to outside ocean and remain in SE waters throughout their lives-this makes winter fishing for kings a problem in these certain areas. Anyway, my original statement about the king salmon fishing in Juneau being destroyed by charter fleet dates to much before this latest king salmon issue. There has still been some king salmon fishing (hatchery fish) around but even that has now been stopped for the second year in a row as it appears F & G wants every king to get to certain rivers. I suspect a main cause for that issue is that one of the areas where kings stay all year, rather than go to sea, is close by Juneau (Lynn Canal). I’m not sure how long the information has been known about those fish staying put but we know it now and its altering immensely how king salmon are fished nearby.
        The troll fleet argued hard to keep them fishing but they were hit pretty hard in an area where they make their money.
        And, money occasionally talks as that was a large part of the argument for not restricting the herring fishery in Sitka, as the processing of those herring is considered an economic driver there.

      • Bill: what do guided trips on the Kenai have to do with this subject? We are talking about SEAK! And while you disparage “high dollar” trips you seem to forget that most of these dollars stay in Alaska and benefit us all. And seldom does the BOF mention the economic impacts to the area, region, or State except when supporting commercial fishing regulations relaxing commercial restrictions or increasing allocations to them. And the Black Cod vote was a vote to allocate more to the commercial Sector by an unknown amount. But whatever, I respect your opinion and will not insult you by the use of “tough nuggies”. Reasonable minds can differ on fisheries issues Bill with no need to be insulting. It detracts from an otherwise thoughtful message.

      • AF, so sorry that “tough noogies” insulted you-I tamed it down I thought and didn’t intend it to be insulting just the way it is.
        The Kenai thing was just for Craig to peg his prowess against some charter guys-do you think there is a difference in the ability of any of those charter folks?? My point was that they are very good at what they do-catch fish no matter where they fish.
        The black cod vote had nothing to do with giving the quota guys more quota-all it did was place a reasonable limit on non-resident fishermen (daily and season). They did mention that the numbers of sablefish had been down, also.
        As far as economics, I’m not sure but don’t think the Board is responsible for them. I mentioned the herring thing because that economic issue came up and the Board listened to the processor involved as an economic driver in that area.
        I don’t agree that just because some of those dollars remain in Alaska that they necessarily benefit us all. Those folks target certain of our common property fish and compete directly with me. Explain just how I’m benefitted, particularly since so many of those guides come from the lower 48 and pay no taxes to Alaska. I’ll wait for your answer.

      • Bill: Thank you for your apology. I might be a little thin skinned, but do appreciate your words. BOF policies require consideration of several things when considering proposals that might have an allocative impact. One of them is the economic impact to the area, the region, and the State. While it would be quantifiably difficult to say how much if any would not be caught by non res fishers under the new reg, I assume there are some or why else would the proposal have been submitted. There was twstimonynof large numbers caught that if true would be reduced thus allocating to
        other users. That was my point.
        I realize many charters and some lodge owners live out of state. But most do not according to ADF&G records. All use local resources for part of their operations. Tourists who come to fish spent for other things besides their fishing expenses. Hotels, fishing gear, clothing, lodging and food, and for other things besides the cost of the fishing experience. Most will still come back. But at some point when they are limited in their harvest some will say enough. In today’s economy I feel we need to nurture the tourism dollar. Provided it does not have a proven detriment to the fishery. If it does then the fish come first.
        Hope that explains some of my thinking.

  7. Many of the decisions by the Board of Fisheries that favored the commercial sector can be undone and some better balance restored by simply throwing Walker out of office and replacing him with Dunleavy. He will put new BOF members in place and more importantly will appoint a new Commissioner of ADF&G together with new directors and regional
    Managers. These Dept employees can affect the users as much or more than regulations passed by the Board. They have broad discretion with their emergency order authority and can make time and area decisions that dramatically impact who gets what. Commissioner Cotten and much of his senior staff will be dismissed and new Board members appointed. Walker has done serious harm to the Alaska constitution by his appointments who ignore the requirement that the resource is a common resource and is to be managed for the maximum benefit of all Alaskans.

    • Alaskans First…
      Why can’t we see a simple solution to the fish allocation imbalance?
      I would think a 4 day on, 3 day off schedule for commercial fisheries would ease up the pressure on our shared resource.
      Each side would have good and bad weather days and salmon could move up river, say Fri thru Sunday.
      This would give the dipnetters more fish on weekends and Comm Fish gets an extra day.
      If you leave it to a change of guard political conundrum this helps no one up river in the future….
      Not to mention falling escapement levels throughout the state.

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