The Kodiak Fisheries Work Group got together for the first time since the North Pacific Fishery Management Council met in Kodiak earlier this month.
Kodiak, in addition to being the hosting community, sent the council a letter of input on the developing trawl bycatch management program.
At its meeting Wednesday morning, members of the work group shared their impressions of the week-long meeting, which took place between June 6 and June 14.
Larry LeDoux, who holds a borough seat, spoke favorably about Kodiak’s impact.
“We accomplished what we wanted to accomplish as a community. They referred to our economic study many times. My concern at the meeting was we let them know that we are a community that’s concerned about what they do and that their decisions affect us and have affected us, and we want them to be very, very careful when they make decisions.”
City seat holder John Whiddon said the meeting was full of passionate voices, but largely free of confrontation.
“In sitting in on those meetings for five days, it’s actually one of the first council meetings I’ve actually really enjoyed, because just the diverse mix of fishermen and processing workers, and everybody there really gave an exceptional view of the blend of people that live and work in Kodiak in a way that we don’t normally see that.”
The work group also discussed making additional comments at upcoming North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings. The next two are in October and December.
City Mayor Pat Branson said it is important for Kodiak to continue having a voice and at least a presence at North Pacific Fishery Management Council meetings.
“Just being there makes a difference. They can see us, they know that we’re there and we’re still concerned, so whatever that comment might be for that October meeting, and I have no idea what it might be, I do support us being in front of the council on a regular basis.”
As Whiddon pointed out, the council is still months from deciding on a bycatch management alternative. The next council’s next meeting will be in Anchorage and begin the first week of October.