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Thread: KRSA aims to block Webster BOF confirmation

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    Default KRSA aims to block Webster BOF confirmation

    Well, here we go again. KRSA is pulling hard to block Vince Webster's confirmation for another term on the board of fish.

    Read for yourselves. I took the libery of adding some, ahhem, corrections in red.

    ACTION NEEDED IMMEDIATELY – HELP SAVE THE KINGS

    April 4th, 2013
    This is an IMMEDIATE CALL TO ACTION!
    Kenai River Sportfishing Association supporters:
    We ask that you read this important update and take action against the appointment of Vince Webster to the Alaska Board of Fisheries by the Governor.
    Vince Webster’s appointment needs confirmation by the Legislature, with a vote coming Monday, April 8. We need your assistance in voicing opposition to his confirmation. KRSA does not support the appointment of Vince Webster to the Alaska Board of Fisheries for the following reasons:
    • He directly participated in precariously and unnecessarily lowering the escapement goal of Kenai River king salmon during a time of record low abundance and uncertain future production.
    Not True - ADF&G set this new escapement goal. It is their job, not the BOF's to set SEG's. This goal was scientifically vetted and peer reviewed. ADF&G set the SEG. The BOF simply voted to adopt it into the language of the management plan, at the recommendation of ADFG.
    • As an experienced member on the BOF, Mr. Webster was tasked to co-chair a Cook Inlet king salmon task force. Its mission was essentially to identify the best mix of fishing opportunity during times of low king salmon abundance and the best means of attaining the escapement goal. Unfortunately, the final work product of the task force failed. The process he was tasked to oversee ended in deadlock.
    The fact that Mr. Webster and Mr. Kluberton actually took time to come to the Peninsula and learn about our diverse fishery from scientists and users is a MAJOR point in their favor. It has been a long time since our area has seen BOF meetings of any kind. The task force was a success - it was the motivator that got ADFG to produce a ton of new, relavant data which changed everyone's perception of the King issue. The only reason that there wasn't more consensus is because several KRSA-strong members, most notably the only NON-RESIDENT & PAID CONSULTANT on the task force was not willing to budge from their very allocative proposal and very anti-setnetting views.
    • The failure of the task force rests in large part with Mr. Webster. A canceled December meeting wasted valuable time that could have been used to address ADFG processes to establish escapement goals. Subsequent meetings offered no forward progress and squandered valuable time, resources and energy of participants.
    First, Tom Kluberton helped create and led the SUCESSFUL task force meetings. Vince was there as a Co-Chair. The December task force meeting was cancelled due to a lack of data. ADFG had failed to satisfy the data requests by task force members, and had not completed their run reconstruction or genetic testing. An email poll of task force members was taken, and the overwhelming majority agreed that it would not be productive to have a December meeting.
    • Subsequently at the March BOF meeting, Mr. Webster led the charge to take the easy way out by accepting a risky, lowered escapement goal.
    The Board of Fish voted UNANIMOUSLY to adopt ADFG's new EG into the management plan, as they should have. Responsibly, they chose to leave the allocative issues alone until the 2014 regularly scheduled meeting on UCI issues.
    • Public perception is that the overriding agenda of Mr. Webster is to put commercial set netters back in the water during periods of low abundance.
    It is a positive thing that Mr. Webster fully undersands the importance of yield tradeoffs and what they mean to the Alaskan communities that depend on our fishery resources. That being said, I don't beleive that public perception is anything other than that he listened to what all users and scientists had to say, and played an active role in the BOF coming to a reasonable decision to support ADFG.
    • When a new board member tried to bring up discussion points on such fishery conservation issues, Mr. Webster led the fight to deny the airing of this important topic.
    What???? A new board member did make a somewhat bold and unexpected move by submitting as an RC the EXACT PLAN THAT KRSA SUBMITTED TO THE TASK FORCE. This plan was dismissed as purely allocative and anti-setnet (Which it was) at the task force. Apparently most at the BOF meeting felt the same way.
    The resulting outcome of Mr. Webster’s actions puts at risk one of the signature king salmon fisheries in Alaska. The message from this Webster-led (UNANIMOUS!!!) decision appears to be to lower the goal in order to use up the additional 6,000 fish (6,000 fish???) as a cushion before implementing any restrictions on commercial set netters. Such an approach will almost certainly guarantee a spawning escapement that will be one of the lowest ever on record.
    The Legislature has a trust responsibility to manage the state’s fishery resources and delegates its management authority to BOF. With this authority comes responsibility for the BOF to put conservation first. Before you can manage and allocate, you must first ensure conservation; Mr. Webster has failed in this duty
    It now falls on the shoulders of the Legislature to repair this breach of public trust. We encourage all supporters of the sport and personal use fisheries to urge Legislators to vote “NO” on the reconfirmation of Mr. Webster to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
    We don’t have much time. Please contact your legislator immediately and tell them “NO VINCE WEBSTER!” Attached is list of emails for all Alaska legislators. Email and voice your objections to the confirmation of Vince Webster.
    Thank you,
    Ricky Gease
    Executive Director
    Kenai River Sportfishing Association


    The above blog post is full of misinformation. Please voice you support for Mr. Webster, a BOF member who actually cares about Alaska's fisheries.

  2. #2
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    I agree that Mr. Webster cares about Alaska's Commercial fisheries - and not much about any other user group.

  3. #3

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    Mr. Webster is one of several commercial fisherman on the board, which is generally made up of Alaskans from various different interest groups. Since commercial fishing directly supports THOUSANDS of Alaskan families and their communities, it is appropriate that this user group be represented. For the same reason, there are also sportfish & guided related members on this board. Just because a person relates more to one specific user group or another doesn't mean that they don't make decisions in the best interest of all. KRSA's just trying to block his confirmation so they can slide in someone who will do their bidding. We are all better off if they are not allowed to corrupt the system any more than they already have.

  4. #4

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    KRSA is largely responsible for the BOF corruption when it comes to Cook Inlet and Kenai River fishing issues. If they are opposed to Webster it only means that he is one of the few Board of Fish members that can't be bought. I have always found Mr. Webster open to listen to issues from all user groups and offer constructive feedback. You may not always hear what you wanted to hear but he is always courteous and willing to make time for you, which is more than I can say for some of the others on the board.

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Their arguments against Vince are more than thin, especially if you were at the Statewide Finfish meeting (and I was). Honestly. If I wanted to take a shot at someone about how they voted on an issue, I would make a run at Kluberton . But, he's a hard worker on the Board (as is Vince) and I appreciate that. Board appointments need to be above votes on a single issue. This is a blatant effort to stack the Board prior to the UCI meeting. Art.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    I'm not sure how taking Mr. Webster off the board equates to stacking.....the need to have a commercial fishing representative from Bristol Bay is going to ensure that there will be another Bristol Bay Commercial fisher appointed. It is important that all users be represented on the board and I have no problem with that.

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    I agree with Mr.Fish. This kind of thin character assassination is symptomatic of the problem with the BoF process. In the past Vince Webster has been unfairly characterized as pro sport representative. The truth is he thinks for himself and does what seems fair.
    Not really sure what the motivation is on trying to get him off, but this kind of thing makes good people unwilling to ever put their name in for consideration again( speaking from experience). Having a balance of fishermen of all kinds that are willing to work together is critical get a balanced outcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    . . KRSA's just trying to block his confirmation so they can slide in someone who will do their bidding. We are all better off if they are not allowed to corrupt the system any more than they already have.

    While it's probably a good idea that sportfishing has their own lobby-group, I find it hard to believe KRSA exerts the influence it has in years past. Clearly, KRSA's glory days are over.


    KRSA's decline began with the demise of Senator Ted Stevens and has continued downhill since. Where once KRSA's "Classic" derby was loudly touted locally, today they fly well under area radar, and volunteer participation has declined. The times have changed.


    Penny/KRSA's dream of turning Cook Inlet into an exclusive sport-fishery has been shown up to be the nightmare it would have been if implemented. While Penny/KRSA advocated a policy of "put-more-fish-in-the-river/kill-the-commies/they-will-come/the-economic-engine-will-run-hard," the national economy, the demise of trophy-size kings, and declining king runs had other ideas.


    No, our area and Cook Inlet in general needs a broad economic base that includes both our sport-fisheries and our gill-net industry. KRSA remains a voice for our sport-fishery, one voice among many. I doubt they're much to worry about.

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    Off topic really, but this talk of balance on the BOF...and that someone with a particular background, like commfish, sportfish, et al, can be on the board and make unbiased decisions, I would prefer it if we started to push for a professional board made up of people with one overriding scientific bias: a sustainable resource. Not that it will ever happen, but gosh darn it's so much fun to pound one's head against the wall <grin>.

    Back to the topic, Ricky's letter is same ol' same ol' disingenuous propaganda, but unfortunately it will likely sway some pols who won't bother to dig into whether it deserves four pinnochios or not. Who may also be on the KRSA bandwagon. That said, I think Vince will be confirmed again.

    Thanks much to smithtb for posting,

    (PS, I would also add, if Ricky is out there viewing these threads...I don't follow the BOF as closely as BOG, but these kind of comments opposing a reappointment have backfired big time when that person is reappointed. It's one thing to oppose someone based on substantive factual reasons, quite another to do what KRSA and Ricky have done here. Over time, anyone on these boards develops a thick skin, anyone in fish and wildlife politics develops a thick skin. You have to, because if you take it all personally you just can't handle it. But this kind of thing, what I've seen happen is that the org loses trust, you can't sit down with that board member again in the same way. That may be no big deal if it's a member you're never going to likely have any influence with anyway, but other members also see and read these kind of letters, and I know from experience it doesn't sit well with them. At least on the BOG side. Especially when the person you're vocally opposing becomes the chair <grin>)



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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    . . Ricky's letter is same ol' same ol' disingenuous propaganda, but unfortunately it will likely sway some pols who won't bother to dig into whether it deserves four pinnochios or not. . .

    I doubt it, Mark. By now, KRSA's agenda, sycophants, mailing list, and tactics are old-hat, and our politicians have seen it all before. Won't change any minds.


    That said, it would be good if smithtb were to copy his post as presented above and email it to our legislators. Can't hurt.

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    All I can add if Webster is re-appointed.... It puts him on notice that he represents all Alaskans, not just commercial. I have a different agenda than KRSA. Webster sat throughout the task force and only after public testimony, on the BOF, submitted RC 88. He never even voted for his own RC, once it became noticed by the public, off the record, by Johnstone. That has got to tell you people something. If I submit something, I'll keep defending it till the cows come home. Why? Cause I thought it out before I submitted it. Webster just went with public opinion, after his RC went nowhere. Which way is the wind blowing? Time will tell
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus View Post
    While it's probably a good idea that sportfishing has their own lobby-group, I find it hard to believe KRSA exerts the influence it has in years past. Clearly, KRSA's glory days are over.


    KRSA's decline began with the demise of Senator Ted Stevens and has continued downhill since. Where once KRSA's "Classic" derby was loudly touted locally, today they fly well under area radar, and volunteer participation has declined. The times have changed.


    Penny/KRSA's dream of turning Cook Inlet into an exclusive sport-fishery has been shown up to be the nightmare it would have been if implemented. While Penny/KRSA advocated a policy of "put-more-fish-in-the-river/kill-the-commies/they-will-come/the-economic-engine-will-run-hard," the national economy, the demise of trophy-size kings, and declining king runs had other ideas.


    No, our area and Cook Inlet in general needs a broad economic base that includes both our sport-fisheries and our gill-net industry. KRSA remains a voice for our sport-fishery, one voice among many. I doubt they're much to worry about.
    Marcus,

    I am not sure if you have been following what has transpired in Juneau this year but you are underestimating KRSA's pull in this process. I have never seen anything like it. While myself a victim to some of it....I end up winning in the end because they end up putting more fishing opportunity on the table for sport fishermen. With that said, I'd like to think that things are not as nasty and political when it comes to looking at a person to serve in a difficult position, but I guess I am naive.....But a whole hell of a lot less than I was six months ago!!!

    Do not underestimate the power of using the same old tactics over and over again....If it works for a fish it will sure as hell work for some bloated politician......

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    Default bang and bang...

    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to bushrat again.
    You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to AKCAPT again.
    You both have said it very well. These kind of things can backfire, but KRSA is smart enough to evaluate that risk. And, Andy is right, they do have a very effective Juneau presence. I envy it, even when I don't agree with what they use it for. I wish our western Alaska interests could duplicate it.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    To play devils advocate, I'm sure other groups are walking the halls. Ucida and others, I'm sure are contacting their own people in Juneau, if not walking the halls themselves. BTW, Mr.fish... check your e-mails as I have thrown a few your way. Western Alaska could use a little more presence during the BOF process, I'm sure. I have worked out there for over 10 years and they do need a voice stronger than they have at the moment.
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRFISH View Post
    . . Andy is right, [KRSA does] have a very effective Juneau presence. . .

    You guys are likely right . . my perspective is limited to KRSA's local presence where they seem to have gone to ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thewhop2000 View Post
    BTW, Mr.fish... check your e-mails as I have thrown a few your way.
    Thanks, I've seen them but I'm in the middle of the North Pacific Council meetings, trying to get the ball rolling to re-evaluate the Bering Sea Chinook bycatch measures. Get to spend my Sunday morning waiting to give testimony :-/

    ...and my thanks to AKCAPT, for supporting the motion in the AP the other day. Throw some rep his way, folks, cause I gotta spread the love elsewhere before hitting him again. Art.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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    Good luck with that Art,

    I see both sides of the issue as I am sure you do. Bottom line, the resource has to come first when the numbers are down. I think they have a solid new by catch reduction program in place, in times of normal abundance, but these are exceptional times and every other sector is suffering because of low chinook numbers and the Trawl fleet continues to make huge profits. I am all for taking another look.

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    This confirmation for Vince is apparenty getting ugly, and is more than a "statement" from what I'm hearing back from Juneau today. If you want to support Vince, contact your legislator asap.
    "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

  19. #19

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    Webster was not confirmed. 30-29. KRSA strikes a blow. I recall when being a Kenai River guide was something to be proud of.

  20. #20

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    Representative Gara's constituents show be proud. I loved his substantive testimony of why he wasn't voting for Webster while voting to confirm the other two BOF candidates. You're right Les, it really is Mr. Webster who should pay for the BOF's UNANIMOUS 7-0 vote to support ADF&G and the best available science on Kenai River Kings. Good move. It didn't seem like greaseball politics or anything...

    What a shame.

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