Kodiak’s governing bodies are gearing up for the upcoming North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting next month. Last night both the City Council and Borough Assembly met separately and discussed a proposed letter to the fishery council that addresses bycatch management for the Gulf of Alaska trawl fleet.
Assemblywoman Chris Lynch co-chairs the fisheries work group said the letter was created as a way to ensure Kodiak has a seat at the table in any future bycatch management plans proposed by the fishery council.
“We have had a seat at the table. We’ve been very involved and by resolution both the city and the borough adopted goals for management programs and over arching purposes – we have followed these. This new letter follows the same format as our first proposal did – we would like the council to continue analyzing everything that’s on the table.”
Lynch said local fishermen were fully involved in the fisheries work group meetings that drafted this letter. “we have had a full slate of all gear types, all involvement and all communities – we even had input from Ouzinkie at our last meeting last week, and Larsen Bay.”
Assemblywoman Carol Austerman emphasized that the letter asks for the council to keep looking into various options, and doesn’t focus on any particular form or method of bycatch management.
“We went through and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the important pieces of it were to the local fishermen – on both sides of the table. And we were very careful to not inadvertently ask for elimination of any options that were still important to people.”
Assemblyman Aaron Griffin said he fully supported sending the letter off to the Fishery Management Council and felt it was very balanced.
“It addresses our wanting to kind of curve the consolidation of the fleet, it talks about keeping access for entry into the fishery. It talks about keeping regional attachments to the quota – these are all things that are right in line with our resolution for wanting to keep Kodiak a vibrant and healthy and locally active fishery.”
The assembly unanimously agreed to push the letter forward, as did the City Council during its work session last night. The joint letter will now be signed by both mayors and sent to the fishery council as soon as possible.
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