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Thread: Mat-Su, Kenai fish war brewing

  1. #1
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    Default Mat-Su, Kenai fish war brewing

    Any thoughts?



    SPORT VS. COMMERCIAL: Legislators want more salmon for northern Inlet.
    By WESLEY LOY

    Published: April 7th, 2008 12:01 AM
    Last Modified: April 7th, 2008 08:50 AM


    JUNEAU -- Mat-Su legislators who say people in their area are getting shortchanged on salmon are pushing measures that could revolutionize fishery management in Cook Inlet, the state's most popular fishing hole.


    The lawmakers have rolled out a package of legislation to tilt the balance of power in the Inlet from commercial fishermen to sport anglers and other users. And with a week left in the legislative session, they're hoping to land something big.


    "What you're seeing is a manifestation of the frustration," said Chugiak Republican Rep. Bill Stoltze, who represents a chunk of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.


    People in Mat-Su, the state's fastest growing region, are worried salmon numbers are dwindling in the Susitna River and other drainages and they want changes now, Stoltze said.


    He along with Senate President Lyda Green, R-Wasilla, and other Mat-Su lawmakers unveiled a trio of actions this session:

    Language in next year's state budget would close down the Department of Fish and Game commercial and sportfish management office in Soldotna and move the staff to Anchorage, the state's population cen- ter. Backers suggest the managers are too close to commercial fishing interests in Soldotna.


    Green introduced Senate Bill 284 to transform the makeup of the Board of Fisheries, which regulates commercial and sport salmon catches. The bill would change the board from seven to nine members, with six seats reserved for sport, dipnet and subsistence users and three for commercial fishing interests.


    Resolutions are nearing a vote in the Senate and House to create a Cook Inlet Salmon Task Force, to be composed of 10 legislators appointed by Green and House Speaker John Harris, R-Valdez. The task force would look at how to boost salmon returns to the Inlet's northern reaches -- that is, the Mat-Su region -- and would explore a buyout of commercial fishermen.



    More at: http://www.adn.com/money/industries/...ry/367974.html

  2. #2

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    I think it is fair to say, that things are looking up out in the Valley as far as salmon fishing goes. The commercial guys are going to take this hard though and won't go down without a fight. I hope that more of a balance is restored as the comm guys have had some really really good years as of late, and the valley has had fishing restrictions. It would be hard to argue that these two things are not related to each other. Although, it won't be long until someone in this forum will passionately try.

  3. #3
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskariverrat View Post
    Mat-Su, Kenai fish war brewing .......

    Any thoughts?.........
    This isn't new, and it isn't the first fish war between upper and lower Cook Inlet.

    But it might have a different result, for the first time.............

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    Default dream on

    This has no chance to go anywhere productive. First, Green and Stoltze are playing to their crowd but the rest of the legislature knows the game. Representatives from the Kenai are in powerful positions and will not let the Soldotna office be moved ( the legislature cannot dictate this even if it passes), the new Board of Fish make up is not receiving any significant support from other areas of the state or the peninusula representatives.

    Finally, task forces come and go and I for one would welcome a chance to show how Green and Stoltze have wasted the time of the legislature on this topic and how they have lied about the issues in the valley. The resolution for the task force is full of lies and misrepresentations of data. Lets put it on the table with a group who is not from the valley and see what happens. Oh yea we did that with a 12 day meeting at the Board of Fish and they saw through the bull from Green, Stoltze, and the valley folks.

    What this does is continue to the culture of conflict in UCI and moves away from factual data to emotional responses. So I will be first in line to call it the way it is and I am sure the other biologists in KAFC will join me in making Green and Stoltze look like the fools for not doing their homework on this issue. What Green and Stoltze have done is attack ADF&G staff in the resolution and so the Commissioner of ADF&G will have to defend his department. So it will be ADF&G and past ADF&G biologist standing together to point out that their resolution is just plain wrong. Should be interesting and I assume they will be looking very humble when this is over if it passes. If I was on their staff I would withdraw this resolution for it has no chance to do anything.

    Here are a few examples - buyout of CFEC permits is in law and even if one buys out the permits the ADF&G still is mandated to manage to goals. Therefore, less permits more fishing time - does not change a thing. Stupid idea Green and Stoltze.

    Second, the harvest in the valley has been increasing for coho and the sockeye plan has stated no closures or restrictions on the sport fishery for the next 3 years. Gee, no restrictions on sockeye - why are we meeting one might ask - Relative to coho the harvest by the commercial fleet is less than 15% of the total run - not much run to do anything there.

    Third - remove the drift fleet harvest of salmon and that puts fish on the eastside beaches - more set net fishing time since the Board of Fish passed regulations that goals have the priority. Gee - you think KRSA and KAFC and other Kenai users will want to see that - not likely given we are talking about a total coho harvest of 48k in the Mat/Su - more Kenai chinook in the set nets so the Mat/Su can get maybe a thousand or two more coho - stupid tradeoff Green and Stoltze.

    Fourth - you think the Kenai Pen. assembly will sit idle while thousands of dollars in tax revenue is lost because of silly postions by the Mat/Su folks - I doubt it - so much for the working relationship between the areas. Probably not a good idea to start that fight over fish - another poor choice by Green and Stoltze.

    I could go on but let us see what happens. Task forces give people things at no cost to other representatives and it gives them a one up on those who want the task force. Green and Stoltze are giving away political capital for nothing in return - nice move.

    So in summary - let the poor choices continue and lets see who is standing at the end. Notice I did not bring commercial fisherman into this at all - other parties will join commercial fisherman and it may be the first time the peninsula groups come together for an allocation fight.

  5. #5
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    This has no chance to go anywhere productive. First, Green and Stoltze are playing to their crowd but the rest of the legislature knows the game.....
    And so do we. Been there, done that, numerous times.

    Much of the Legislature represent coastal districts heavily populated with commercial fishing interests (unlike Mat-Su), so the odds are you're right; it won't go anywhere, but it ain't because they'll be doing the right thing.

    Follow the $...............

    ........Lets put it on the table with a group who is not from the valley and see what happens.....
    How about putting it on a table with a group that is neither from the valley or packed with commercial fishing interests?

    .....What this does is continue to the culture of conflict in UCI and moves away from factual data to emotional responses.....
    Yeah, the residents of Mat-Su should just shutup and accept what is left for them by the industry further south.

    How dare they consider their river systems worthy of effective management?

    ....What Green and Stoltze have done is attack ADF&G staff in the resolution and so the Commissioner of ADF&G will have to defend his department...
    Yeah. The Commissioner.

    Who serves at the pleasure of the Governor, a Mat-Su resident and former mayor.........

    ....Should be interesting.....
    Could be.

    ......Here are a few examples - buyout of CFEC permits is in law and even if one buys out the permits the ADF&G still is mandated to manage to goals......
    Does that include Susitna/Yentna goals?

    ....Fourth - you think the Kenai Pen. assembly will sit idle while thousands of dollars in tax revenue is lost because of silly postions by the Mat/Su folks - I doubt it -......
    I guarantee they won't.

    Again, follow the $..........

    ....Notice I did not bring commercial fisherman into this at all - other parties will join commercial fisherman and it may be the first time the peninsula groups come together for an allocation fight.
    Nope, but you sure brought "commerce" into it, which includes the commercial fishing industry.

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    Default

    I read the piece and had about the same reaction as Nerka. Raising the level of polarization is exactly the opposite of what concerned legislators from the Valley need to be doing.

    Yes indeed, this a "manifestation of the frustration" many Valley residents are feeling, but this frustration is weighted well on the side of emotion rather than facts.

    One interesting aspect of SB 284 is that it has now provoked discussion on the game side...if we need to mandate certain representation for the BOF, well why not the BOG? And it has provoked discussion of representation for habitat itself, and for nonconsumptive users. It was just very poorly thought out.

    Just as this notion to move the office from Soldotna to Anchorage is very poorly thought out. Folks are looking for someone to blame...but they aren't looking hard enough at what's going on in their own backyard.

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    Default Mark, Mark, Mark

    Mark, you make my point everytime. No facts or figures just emotional responses.

    Fact - escapement goals for the Susitna have been managed for by ADF&G. Severe restrictions in the commercial fishery have been implemented and they worked. New counting methods show the goals for sockeye salmon have been met. Goals for other species are also being met.

    Fact - effective management has been accomplished - over 85% of the chinook, coho, chum, and pink salmon enter the Susitna drainage and that meets the intent of the management plans relative to sport fish allocation.

    Fact - commercial interest did not dominate the last Board of Fish meeting. The six members at the Board meeting were split 3 commercial 3 sport. To pass anything took 4 votes so the sport fishing representatives voted with the commercial representatives to implement the 2008 regulations. Hard to say the commercial people dominated anything when sport fish interest could stop every vote if they wanted to do so. They did not and voted for effective management - not emotion.

    Fact - the Mat/Su representatives have not focused on those areas where productive work can be done- habitat protection being an obvious one.

    Money is one aspect of the decision making process but watching this Board of Fish they were trying to do the right thing for the resource and the people who use those resources.

    Finally, the Mat/Su needs to shut up relative to the present tactic they are using. However, they should educate themselves on the data and then come to the table with allocation requests that are defendable and habitat protection measures that are effective. Someone will listen to those discussion but not the present ones.

  8. #8

    Default Here it now

    SCR21: Task Force Cook Inlet/Salmon Passed 11-8
    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/PDF/25/Bills/SCR021A.PDF

    listen now Senate Floor session

    http://www.ktoo.org/gavel/audio.cfm

    interesting debate


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark
    Yeah, the residents of Mat-Su should just shutup and accept what is left for them by the industry further south.

    How dare they consider their river systems worthy of effective management?
    Last I checked these are everyone's fish, and everyone's river systems. They are managed in the best interest of the State, not just for you. They are managed in retrospect to the big picture of the entire UCI and its fisheries, not just your area.

    I am in agreement with bushrat and Nerka. Green and her clan dove into this without any traction, and she's pointing fingers and spitting in the face of the exact organizations that she should be looking to for resolve. From what my legislators have told me, she'll be going down in flames on this. And rightfully so. You'd think the Mat-Su fishermen would be discouraging her from driving the wedge deeper and deeper.

  10. #10
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    Mark, you make my point everytime. No facts or figures just emotional responses.
    So who's emotional?

  11. #11

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    And so it starts......

  12. #12

    Default BOF reaction

    Well, I just submitted a long post that didn't post. Anyway, after two weeks of catching sailfish in the sun, I was in Anchorage yesterday meeting with BOF members on some Bristol Bay issues.

    They were not too happy with the latest out of Juneau. They spent two weeks listening to everyone, sitting through staff reports, looking at studies and then made some minor changes to the management plan. Now, our Valley Senator and Representatives are second guessing them and polarizing the rest of the state against urban users. In the past, the other commercial fisheries were willing to throw Cook Inlet under the bus, now they are fundraising on their behalf.

    One of the BOF members basically said that he hoped the commercial guys sue in federal court because they will win. I was shocked. He said that there are federal issues that the BOF was supposed to consider, but that the political will wasn't there to implement them at the state level and that if the commercial guys go to federal court they will win.

    Thanks Lyda, Bill and Charlie - when we aren't dipping reds this summer we'll know who to blame. This might have been one time to let a sleeping dog lie...

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    Thumbs down Our pitiful politicians . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Dipper View Post
    . . there are federal issues that the BOF was supposed to consider, but that the political will wasn't there to implement them at the state level . .
    Same ol', same ol' . . . As if we needed another reminder of why it took the Feds to uncover the corruption in Juneau and why our legislators couldn't find the political will to bring the state's constitution into line with ANILCA.

    What a sorry, sorry bunch . . . .


  14. #14
    Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Dipper View Post
    .....One of the BOF members basically said that he hoped the commercial guys sue in federal court because they will win........
    Let's see if somebody special takes issue with that statement.

    He sure did when I brought it up............

    ....Thanks Lyda, Bill and Charlie - when we aren't dipping reds this summer we'll know who to blame. This might have been one time to let a sleeping dog lie...
    That dog ain't sleeping, and he needs to be leashed.

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    Mark, I realize you're still sour grapes over our past discussions and the fact you got caught lying. But if you want to reference those past discussions and re-hash the Kenai dipnetting and Whittier arguments, those threads are still open to do so. In the past you've made your resentment toward the Kenai folks clear, and I realize you're from the Valley and you think the commercial fishermen are taking all of, what you call, your fish. But lets try to keep our heads here and leave the bizzare stuff out. Posting on your emotions does nothing but digress. Also, please let me remind you that posting on your job is a waste of our government tax dollar. So be careful.

    Big Dipper and Marcus, I agree 100%. Our legislators are now apparently fisheries managers too...who use their political powers to tie the hands of the BOF and throw out all biological reasoning. It is sad. We do have some legislators fighting to do what's right (I think it went down 11-8), so there is hope yet. I have a feeling this will come full circle and Green and her clan will go down in flames. I know I'll be doing everyting in my powers to make that happen.

  16. #16

    Default Polarization

    I don't know, but to me it seems like we should at least sit down and talk with these guys before this goes thermo-nuclear. It appears that the state is in a vulnerable position if they go to federal court. All the rhetoric is merely polarizing the whole state. What began as a polarization between Anchorage/MatSu PU and recreational fishermen and Cook Inlet commercial fishermen is becoming urban vs the rest of the state.

    Anyone remember how the state came out on Katie John? This could be all or nothing and Anchorage/MatSu could end up with nothing. That will make the past couple of years look like the good old days.

    If this proceeds to scorched earth, then everyone gets what they deserve. Personally, I think there are other solutions and we should be working toward them. Instead of a task force of legislators, why not a scientific committee? Lets put a couple of sport fishermen, PU fishermen, commercial fishermen, environmentalists, biologists and economists on a committee and give them one year to visit each affected community, talk to those affected, review the science, model the outputs, and present a range of options to the BOF or the legislature. Maybe if a committee gives he legislature a recommendation regarding MatSu habitat, they will fund remediation measures. Give all the stakeholders a seat at the table. We can come up with something better than what is on the horizon.

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    Default federal issues???

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Dipper View Post
    One of the BOF members basically said that he hoped the commercial guys sue in federal court because they will win. I was shocked. He said that there are federal issues that the BOF was supposed to consider, but that the political will wasn't there to implement them at the state level and that if the commercial guys go to federal court they will win.
    What federal issues are you (or was this person) talking about? Salmon is purely State-managed. On some of the crab and groundfish fisheries, where this is shared or delegated authority, there are Fed guidelines/standards that must be considered or addressed. But I don't see any here. Certainly nothing that would make things vulnerable in Federal court.

  18. #18

    Default Magnuson-Stevens Act

    MSA provides federal authority to manage anadromous species throughout their range. Take a look at what the Pacific Fishery Management Council does on the West Coast. The BOF has been delegated authority to manage by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, but that delegation must meet the 10 national standards under Magnuson-Stevens. Also, there are apparently some commerce clause issues under the United States Constitution - if the state discriminates against out of state commercial fishermen and affects interstate commerce, then federal preemption of state regulations is a possibility.
    I just had a conversation with someone who discussed this issue with an attorney for the state who deals with the Treaty salmon, and apparently she has a high level of frustration with the state's reluctance to recognize that pacific salmon are a federal fish. She basically admitted that the state will not only lose in federal court this time, it has happened before in Southeast a couple of times.
    Now you know as much as I do, which isn't much, but it is enough for me to be concerned about the wisdom of pursuing a scorched earth policy. I think the BOF recognized the potential downside, looked at the data and gave the commercial guys a bone with the idea that they would just go away. Now, our valley legislators are throwing gas on an ember that was almost out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Dipper
    Personally, I think there are other solutions and we should be working toward them. Instead of a task force of legislators, why not a scientific committee? Lets put a couple of sport fishermen, PU fishermen, commercial fishermen, environmentalists, biologists and economists on a committee and give them one year to visit each affected community, talk to those affected, review the science, model the outputs, and present a range of options to the BOF or the legislature. Maybe if a committee gives he legislature a recommendation regarding MatSu habitat, they will fund remediation measures. Give all the stakeholders a seat at the table. We can come up with something better than what is on the horizon.
    That would seem like a reasonable plan. The problem is that if the results weren't in favor of what the Valley and Green wants, then we would be right back to where we are now...using political powers of legislation to form a committee to review that committee.

    I mean heck, the scientific data was already reviewed and explained. The groups and communities already gave their input. The BOF even made some changes to the commercial fishery accordingly. Green just didn't like it. So she said to heck with our process, to heck with our biologists and their science, to heck with the BOF, to heck with ADF&G, to heck with the Kenai office, and to heck with the rest of the State...We are going to do it my way using legislative authority. It is truly sad. And it will undoubtedly lead to mismanaged fisheries in UCI. I mean why even have ADF&G, a BOF, a Commissioner, and due process if legislators are going to undermine everything they are assigned to do?

    I continue to ask myself what Green is using to support her crusade and her claims, other than emotions. What do the professionals and the data say?

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    Thanks BigDipper, but I'd disagree with that Board member's interpretation that the National Standards of the MSA applies to UCI salmon management decisions made by the BOF.

    It applies in the Pacific NW because those stocks migrate and are harvested in different State jurisdictions...and in SE AK, the Pacific Salmon Treaty trumps certain aspects of State Management on those stocks under the treaty. But, I guess if someone wants to sue, nothing can stop them. Who knows what the 9th Circuit will do...

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