Ideas afloat — Kenai fishing task force hears plans to change management
By Jenny Neyman
File photo by Patrice Kohl, Redoubt Reporter. A stringer of sockeye salmon were fished from the Kenai River at River Bend. The Upper Cook Inlet Task Force is mulling ways to better balance management of the Kenai’s sockeye and king salmon returns and fisheries.Redoubt
“There’s nothing worse than not fishing then having to go to meetings to talk about not fishing.”
That jest, from Jim Butler, a member of the Upper Cook Inlet Task Force, drew chuckles from the crowd assembled for the Jan. 14 meeting at the Challenger Learning Center of Alaska in Kenai. Though it was a fitting sentiment for the six hours of detailed, science-heavy, acronym-laden discussion, the trumping sentiment of the day was one of progress.
“I think this is a starting point. It’s trying to make the best of Armageddon, if there’s a way to do that,” said task force member Ken Coleman, a set-net fisherman. “… We are trying to make sure there’s a place in the sun for both of us. How do we achieve that is the art of the deal. We’re heading that way, I think.”
Three proposals to change fishery management plans for the 2013 fishing season were submitted for discussion. Each aim to prevent 2013 from being a repeat of the disastrous fishing season of 2012 — with sport and set-net fisheries shut down — should similar factors of a late and/or low king return amid a robust sockeye run again be the case.
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