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Thread: Example of Why Board of Fish is broken

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    Smile Example of Why Board of Fish is broken

    I just received the proposal book for the 2011 UCI meeting. There are lots of crazy proposals - in fact most of them have wrong information or misconceptions. However, the one that really sticks out is proposal 122 put in by the Alaska Board of Fisheries.

    This proposal is to close statistical area 245-70 (which is a small strip of water on the west side of the inlet behind the island). The justification is that the Board in 2005 untented to close this area but the regulation did not do it. It further states that commercial harvest has been accumulated at the expense of Northern District escapements.

    Now here is what is funny. This Board of Fish proposal is totally wrong and without merit but the Board put it in the book. First, at the 2005 meeting the 245-70 discussion was changed to an Area 2 discussion so the premise of the proposal is wrong. Second, not only did the Board in 2005 pass the Area 2 language but the 2008 Board of Fish reviewed the language and left it as is because it was correct. So now a third Board decides that the previous two Boards intent was different -even though the record is clear on this one and writes a proposal for a fourth Board of Fish to take up. Now is that not a hoot. Plus the third Board who wrote this proposal has already stated without any facts or data that all Northern District escapements have been damaged from not closing an area drift fisherman do not fish from a practical sense.

    This is really pathetic and unfortunate. I think Mr. Fish may have been involved with this and his comments would be interesting. Just for the record Dan Coffey brought up the 245-70 discussion and he and a UCIDA representative changed the boundaries to the Area 2 limitations in the present plans.

    The Board of Fish should not be putting proposals into themselves. This is a bad idea and the purpose of this post.

    I am not trying to debate ND issues but process here.

    The Board of Fish which meets in 2011 with new members now has a proposal from itself to pass which members of the 2011 Board did not put into the proposal book nor was there a debate on the merits of this proposal when it was put into the book. How can there be objective discussion of an issue when one Board says to another Board we know your intent and you got it wrong in regulation and the 2008 Board got it wrong in regulation during their meeting. What a sad state of affairs and why the Board of Fish process needs a complete examination and overall.

    In fact this makes the State look bad. If the Board passes this for the reasons stated it says that the regulations were wrong for 6 years and that the review process failed on a key regulation that put ND escapements at risk. If they fail to pass it then it says the Board that put it in was wrong and not justified to do so. There can be no middle ground here and to further muddy the waters the court case UCIDA has over the Board process just got stronger by the Board's own admission

    You gotta love this

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    Nerka, let me see if I have background info on this before I post any specifics.

    However, I agree with everything you've said about monkeying with the process and trying to divine previous Board's intentions.

    There may be some times when an examination of intent is valid...particularly relating to the Board's acceptance/denial of an agenda change request, where one of the criteria relates to "correct[ing] an error in regulation".

    But that's not the case here. This is an issue that's now in cycle. Debate it on it's merits and not what was intended nearly 6 years ago. There are only 2 members still serving who were at the table in '05.

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    That is my point exactly. Also, the proposal states that ND escapements have been impacted in a negative way but there are no data to support that position. So how can this Board look at the proposal they generated and then act on it in an objective manner without taking to task the Board that put it in? I just think the Board should not be putting in Board of Fish generated proposals. The ADF&G can put them in, the public can put them in, or the AG can submit them but for the Board to be neutral on a proposal and be fair they should not generate them. This is just a good example of a bad practice.

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    Nerka,
    What is their motivation? If there are flaws (which it sounds like there are) won't that be exposed in public testimony and commitees? I does seem to me that the only reason the board should or would put in a proposal would be "house keeping" in nature. Is this not the case for this proposal? Sorry for my lack of knowledge about the area or situation.

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    Maybe we need those flaws to be exposed, so we can fix the problem? If you don't admit you have a problem, you can't do something to fix it. Maybe these flaws will be discussed and then somehow a consensus can be reached on future conduct. I don't know, I'm asking but an alcoholic can't be helped unless he admits he has a problem. Maybe the BOF needs a wake-up call on what it is creating by submitting their own proposals? Thoughts?
    If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip?

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    I'm still not engaging the merits of this issue in any way (I have notes and materials on this somwehere...just not the time right now to re- re-review it).

    Those of you who follow the BOF very closely know the complexity of stuff that the Board deals with (and this goes on with every meeting). Upper Cook Inlet, however, is an entirely different beast when it comes to the complexity of the management plans (and the level of animosity between user groups).

    Anyway, mistakes are occasionally made in transposing Board intent and all the various motions/amendments. I'm not saying that anything nefarious is behind it...just that with all the details, sometimes things get missed.

    I will say that, from my recollection, this was a small part of a very complicated package that most Board members didn't see until the night before it was first put on the table in the middle of the 2005 meeting. I vividly remember being quite pissed and I chewed on a few members of the public for launching it on us at the last minute. However, I also wouldn't want to shut the door to acting on last-minute suggestions if they have merit (and all the APA requirements are met, of course). This was far from ideal, though.

    But, that recollection from memory (at least mine when it comes to fine details) isn't perfect and I hate to see a Board six (or even three) years later trying to divine the previous intent.

    Personally, I don't have a problem with the Board putting in their own proposal (especially in cycle). Even if it invloves "correcting an error". However, the discussion when the Board addresses it needs to be focused on the merits of the proposed change, and not so much previous intent.

    No Board can pre-dispose a future Board, anyway.

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    I reviewed some of the RC's today and in my opinion there is no error in regulation. What appears to happen is that the RC's and haste of the Board to pass this were not complete - but that brings us to the problem. In the 1980's the regulation specialist would write the regulations in regulatory format and the Board would pass that. In 1999 with the advent of the committee process the Board went with intent wording and the regulatory language was not written until months latter in some cases. This left it to ADF&G to figure out what the Board meant. That also resulted in some Board members saying one thing and another Board member telling the public something different. In this case that is what is happening. Mr. Delo on the Board and from the Northern District put his feelings on the previous Board intentions into play from select conversations. In contrast, Board members and the public in 2005 and 2008 have different views.

    One solution and why I said the process is broken is to return to regulatory language being written and passed by the Board of Fish at the meeting. It is not hard to do but requires effort on ADF&G part to get it done. That way when the Board meeting is over everyone has the language.

    Second, the Board should only put in proposals on their own to deal with conservation issues. This proposal is allocative and therefore one Board is putting another Board in a difficult position -

    Third, no Board should put in a proposal with comments like this one with a factual statement about Northern District escapements being impacted in a negative way. They should be forced to provide that data in the proposal or at least reference it. Now with all the proposals before the Board they have interjected the Board process with factual data not on record and advisory committees and other groups will only have their word that is the case. Again, when shown not to be the case the reputation of the Board is adversely impacted - not only the Board that put the proposal in but all future Boards.

    So this proposal is just plain bad policy and procedure. There are plenty of public proposals in that deal with ND stocks and the Board did not have to do this. This was done for political posturing and compromised the Board in my opinion.

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    That is bizarre. I've never heard of a situation where a governing body can generate proposals for which it has regulatory jurisdiction. I've seen instances where individual members of a board/commission have the authority to submit proposals, and then have the remaining members act on the proposal. In those instances, the member submitting the proposal has to recuse themselves from the regulatory process. But this situation is really odd......

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    "really odd" are such polite words I think...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    That is bizarre. I've never heard of a situation where a governing body can generate proposals for which it has regulatory jurisdiction. I've seen instances where individual members of a board/commission have the authority to submit proposals, and then have the remaining members act on the proposal. In those instances, the member submitting the proposal has to recuse themselves from the regulatory process. But this situation is really odd......
    Not unusual at all in Alaska. Both the Board of Fish and the Board of Game do it in every cycle. They normally have ADF&G draft and submit the proposals, at their requests. They often state this in the proposal. Nothing underhanded about it, done quite openly. We have a funny way of doing things that some don't like and in fact never seen elsewhere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    That is bizarre. I've never heard of a situation where a governing body can generate proposals for which it has regulatory jurisdiction. I've seen instances where individual members of a board/commission have the authority to submit proposals, and then have the remaining members act on the proposal. In those instances, the member submitting the proposal has to recuse themselves from the regulatory process. But this situation is really odd......
    Not really odd at all -this is done all the time in the lower 48. Fish and Game agencies propose regulations all the time that they will have regulatory power to enforce.

    ClearCreek

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    This is not ADF&G putting in the proposal. It is the Board of Fisheries which is different. They pass the regulations. So how can they be objective in hearing public comments if they have made the decision that this is needed. It stinks. If I say to them your rationale is wrong after they have stated something as fact are they going to say your right we are wrong - unlikely. In my 30 plus years of interacting with the Board on a variety of levels I think it is unlikely that they will say they are wrong. If this was an issue then the public should have put the proposal in for consideration and the public can testify on the issue and the Board can remain objective and make a decision. This proposal has a conclusion in the proposal. So right now they have put in the proposal, judged it to be right, and will act on it with that understanding. Where is the public process in reality?

    If ADF&G put the proposal in then the Board being independent could be objective. I have seen the Board reject ADF&G proposals.

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    Nerka,
    I have read thousands of proposals on the BOF AND BOG books. It is often stated, "Submitted by ADF&G at the Board's Request". Sometimes neither will use ADF&G and submit their own, but not usually. Only when they want legal to weigh in or a possible scapegoat if things go south. It has been going on as long as I have been around. Nothing new or likely to change. If you wait to have your thoughts and preferences considered in the Public Meeting....well....you obviously know little about how the process works. The decisions are made well outside the actual meeting. Take that bit of sage wisdom as you may, but I am speaking from my personal experience. If you are not on a first name basis with the individual member of each board, you will continue to likely be disenchanted with the process. They are people, not machines.
    "96% of all Internet Quotes are suspect and the remaining 4% are fiction."
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    Akres, just for some clarification. I have been involved with the Board as a member of ADF&G for over 25 Cook Inlet meetings and as a member of the public since retirement for a number of additional meetings. Not all things are solved prior to the BOF meetings as you state. There are few proposals for example that pass as submitted. Most are modified based on the public meetings. While individuals may think they have a Board in their pocket they rarely do. Mr. Fish can speak to this also. I will say that Board members have bias as they represent user groups. Just for the record I have a number of instances where Board members have taken me to task or so they thought on the public record but then told me in private they had to do that but really did not feel that way. So things are not always as they seem. In fact, on Kenai River sockeye salmon escapement goal discussions some leading sport fish advocates on the Board did this.

    Second, I have written proposal for ADF&G that say submitted by ADF&G at the request of the Board. That language is used to show it is not an ADF&G proposal but a BOF proposal. ADF&G writes it up because they have a regulation specialist who does that for them. It is a bad process for the BOF or BOG to write their own proposals that deal with allocation or any other issue. It would be best for them to sit in judgment of proposals not create them and then become creator, judge, and jury.

    Finally, it is always a good idea to talk to Board members outside the meeting to make one's point and those that make the effort have a greater chance of getting their data before the Board. However, there are 4 votes required to pass something. The issue we are talking about right now was not done outside the meeting time. The 2005 Board meeting had this discussion submitted as an RC after Kenai River Sport Fishing Association and UCIDA made a deal at the meeting. That deal did not include KPFA, the advisory committees, or any other group.

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    In my view, it's entirely OK for a technical agency (i.e., ADF&G) to submit proposals to a regulatory board/commission (BoF or BoG) for consideration. The technical experts (ADF&G) are submitting their recommendations for regulations, allocations, rule changes, etc that are in the best interest of the natural resources of Alaska (ditto for Michigan or Oregon, or wherever). The Board's role is to evaluate the technical justification for the proposal, and then decide whether the proposal is in the best interest of the people of that State. That happens in almost every State in the country. However, it's a clear conflict when the regulatory body develops proposals for which it has the authority to accept, reject, or modify. I can't say I've ever seen that in any other State.

    I agree with Nerka on this issue (for once.....). The Board should not be in a position as judge, jury, and executioner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The Board's role is to evaluate the technical justification for the proposal, and then decide whether the proposal is in the best interest of the people of that State.
    We can only hope....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cohoangler View Post
    The technical experts (ADF&G) are submitting their recommendations for regulations, allocations, rule changes, etc that are in the best interest of the natural resources of Alaska (ditto for Michigan or Oregon, or wherever).
    Well, the Department is supposed to be neutral on allocative issues. Not that it always ends up that way, but usually they stay out of the fish fights.

    -------------

    With the BOF on a 3-year cycle (and to help avoid more ACR's from being accepted) I don't have a problem with the BOF submitting a proposal to themselves (or having ADFG submit it, on their behalf) as long as it's written objectively to serve as a placeholder for discussion of an issue or a specific regulation.

    Prop 122 really pushes that envelope (as written), as Nerka has pointed out. However, and in my opinion, the regulations do not reflect Board action from the 2005 meeting. This does happen from time to time. Not sayin' anyone monkeyed with things. But, even with that, the Board should look at it objectively and not approach it as a "must do" based on previous board intent. As I said before...no Board can predispose or otherwise bind a future board.

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    I have posted part of an article that ran in the Homer Reporter on Wednesday........looks like the Board of Fish will now be tied up in even more knots. Suggest you read the entire article and see what you think.


    UCIDA wins major battle in Cook Inlet fish war
    The United Cook Inlet Drift Association has won a significant concession from the Secretary of Commerce, who oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service, in an ongoing battle over management of the Upper Cook Inlet salmon fishery.
    NMFS has signed a consent decree with UCIDA that allows UCIDA to file a petition with the federal government contesting management decisions by the state Board of Fisheries that are not in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act without first going through the state courts.
    Also, any decision made by the Board of Fisheries that UCIDA feels does not meet the standards outlined in the act must be reviewed by NMFS within 180 days of filing the petition with the Secretary of Commerce


    What happened to state control vs federal? Looks like UCIDA favors a return to federal management of our fisheries. Will fish traps be next?

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    wowzers! Maybe its time to buy a Cooks inlet drift permit

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    Default OSY isn't MSY

    Quote Originally Posted by gusdog44 View Post
    I have posted part of an article that ran in the Homer Reporter on Wednesday........looks like the Board of Fish will now be tied up in even more knots. Suggest you read the entire article and see what you think.


    UCIDA wins major battle in Cook Inlet fish war
    The United Cook Inlet Drift Association has won a significant concession from the Secretary of Commerce, who oversees the National Marine Fisheries Service, in an ongoing battle over management of the Upper Cook Inlet salmon fishery.
    NMFS has signed a consent decree with UCIDA that allows UCIDA to file a petition with the federal government contesting management decisions by the state Board of Fisheries that are not in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act without first going through the state courts.
    Also, any decision made by the Board of Fisheries that UCIDA feels does not meet the standards outlined in the act must be reviewed by NMFS within 180 days of filing the petition with the Secretary of Commerce


    What happened to state control vs federal? Looks like UCIDA favors a return to federal management of our fisheries. Will fish traps be next?
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It's funny how they argue about managing for OSY (per the Magnuson Act), as if it's the same as MSY. It ain't.

    From the article (quote from Jim Butler, UCIDA's attorney):
    "There are too many unique aspects of how they manage the Kenai, that they're arguing that they can do what they want, but if it affects (optimum sustained yield) in the EEZ, they can't do it. That's our position. UCIDA believes that if they manage for OSY, then by definition you should have plenty of opportunity for people who are in-river or near-shore fishermen. As opposed to now, where we're managing for the bottom of the curve, instead of the top."

    OSY can be anything less than MSY (for economic, social, or ecological reasons) as long as it's sustainable.

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