The Kodiak Fisheries Workgroup sent a letter of community input to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council before the council’s meeting in early October. The letter focused on the gulf trawl bycatch management issue.
Fisheries analyst for the Kodiak City and Kodiak Island Borough, Heather McCarty, says it encouraged the council to continue analysis on some points that the Kodiak community thinks important, and it furthermore provided a community perspective.
“Sort of a broader perspective than perhaps can be had from the various fishing sectors, so all of the fishing interests are all present at these North Pacific Council meetings and prepare and present their point of view on these issues, and it has been relatively rare in the past that a community has done the same thing, has participated at that level.”
McCarty says letters like the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group sent are comment letters which serve to communicate the public’s views.
“They are solicited by the North Pacific Council on any topic that they’re going to be talking about, and the council doesn’t really respond to those except by whatever action they take and they sort of supplement the oral testimony that’s given by representatives of various sectors. In this case, several members of the fisheries work group came to Anchorage and testified.”
She says Mayor Pat Branson, City Councilman John Whiddon, and then-Councilwoman Chris Lynch presented the contents of the letter.
McCarty says the results of the October meeting were to broaden the approach to gulf trawl bycatch management and to add an alternative.
“The new alternative does not do catch shares on those fisheries resources such as pollock, but provides a share instead of the bycatch quota, which is either halibut or salmon. Chinook salmon. And so, if you’re given a share of that bycatch, you can take that bycatch share into a co-op.”
McCarty says at the next Kodiak Fisheries Work Group meeting, members will hold a robust discussion about the new alternative. The date of that meeting has yet to be announced.