Interesting meeting at the KRSMA AB last night.
Sounds like tons of people are sending in opposition about subsistence gillnets in the
rivers. The initiative folks are spinning that into an opposition to only setnets since those are the only nets anyone opposes right now...
Mary King's appearance at the last meeting was referenced. The chair of the habitat committee kept good notes. It sounded like an interesting meeting and it has started some good discussion.
There was broad support for both boater education and PFD requirements. There was also pretty broad support for discussions of limits on both commercial activity and private use. Despite low king returns, river use continues to explode. There is genuine concern of "implosion", especially when kings come back. People and boats everywhere. Lots of issues related to powerboat transport, with the PU fishery and the upper river Sockeye bank fishery. Transportation in a boat is harder to regulate than fishing from a boat.
Here is a link to participation/harvest results for the Kenai. I thought an excel graph on yearly river use would tell a sweet tail, but it turns out that I have a life and will not do that any time soon, so maybe someone else will appreciate the info:
Everyone seemed to support the sockeye stamp.
Everyone seemed fairly understanding of the issues facing the river. Exploding use and a political quagmire of regulation and legislation. Limiting anything is very tricky legally speaking.
Mr. Johnson had drafted a resolution to support Mr. Ruffner as a nomination to board of fish, but later, at the request of the chairman, changed that into a motion to support one of the 5 applicants from Southcentral Alaska to the board of fish. That motion passed as there was general agreement that Cook Inlet issues are complex, contentious, and easily misunderstood, and having someone on the board who understood them would be beneficial. Habitat and scientific understanding was also mentioned. Regardless, reps from the guide association and sportfishing association did not support endorsing a candidate due to concerns over process, bylaws, and worries of meddling. Navarre's chief of staff Mr. Ostrander spoke in strong support for Mr. Ruffner as a candidate for board of fish, as did many other people. A member of both the guide association and the KRSMA board went so far as to say that if by some chance Mr. Ruffner were appointed by the governor, he would not "say anything bad about him". How nice. I left before they ended, but I believe the end result was to agree to discuss the issue again on Friday, March 20th at 5:30pm.
Mr. Kramer introduced a proposal to limit guides. He feels that 250 guides on the lower Kenai is a solid number, and we will be there within a couple years at the rate things are going. Here's a link to his proposal:
Apparently it didn't receive the warmest of welcomes at the guide advisory committee, but I don't think there was a large attendance since the guide academy was this week and the same day I think. Maybe the lights weren't turned up real bright during this months advisory meeting..
It was discussed at length in the river use committee I attended, and even supported by some guides both there and at the board meeting. Apparently KRSMA rules say that guide activity must be limited before private activity, and even they realize that there are way too many people on our river. The question came up about how other places have dealt with these issues. Limiting guides is a no-brainer, as is limiting use, and IMO modifying behavior to have less impact, which can actually allow more use. I'm no traffic planner, but if you have a two lane street that is congested, turning it into a one way street if possible seems like a viable option if you respect public access. Especially when it is downhill and you have, uhm, smog problems.