Salmon Weir Funding Up in the Air, Commissioner Campbell Gaining Support

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Jacob Resneck/KMXT

Alaska’s House of Representatives has earmarked $467,500 to fund Kodiak Island salmon counting stations on weirs and reestablish sampling programs for juvenile sockeye in Karluk and Frazier Lake.

The funds passed the House this week and are headed for the Senate.

Senate President Gary Stevens of Kodiak says he supports the funding for Alaska Department of Fish and Game. But during a press briefing Tuesday others were less committal.

Here’s Senator Lyman Hoffman of Bethel who co-chairs the powerful finance committee.

— weirs 1 :22 "I believe there are … at the conference table."

The weirs are used to measure escapement of salmon that allow area management biologists to manage Kodiak’s salmon fisheries. Last year the operations were shortened but this funding is designed to ensure that doesn’t happen this season.

That’s because with less hard escapement data from the weirs biologists often have to manager fisheries more conservatively which can translate to shorter openings in commercial fisheries.

Contained in the House version is $160,000 to support weirs at Ayakulik [eye-uh-koo-lick], Dog Salmon/Frazer Lake, Karluk, and Upper Station. Also inserted was $275,000 to reestablish sampling programs for juvenile sockeye at Karluk and Frazer Lake for biologists to better understand these systems that in recent years have been in decline. Plus there’s $32,500 for the first year equipment for these lakeside programs.

In related news, Fish and Game Commissioner Cora Campbell will go before the Senate for a confirmation hearing later this week.

Legislators including Sen. Gary Stevens had expressed skepticism over Governor Sean Parnell’s pick because of her relative inexperience in leading one of the state’s largest and most complex organizations.

But it appears the 31 year old from Petersburg has won over Stevens who was one of several senators to express their support.

— weirs 2 :22 "Miss Campbell has … opposition to her at this time."

The Senate confirmation hearing is scheduled for this Friday. ###

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