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.
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.