Kodiak Wants the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to Acknowledge its Rural Status

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Kodiak Fisheries Work Group, which has been active in decisions related to fisheries management affecting the island community, now wants the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to acknowledge the Kodiak community’s rural status.

Being considered “rural” under federal law comes with certain benefits regarding priority for subsistence use of fish and wildlife. Though no change in designation is being contemplated, any change could affect how people in Kodiak go about hunting and fishing for what they put on their dinner tables.

Whether residents get that subsistence preference depends on whether the Federal Subsistence Board considers the community to be rural or not. So far it does, but it never hurts to get more affirmation.

At the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group meeting last week, City Mayor Pat Branson supported putting in the request for the North Pacific Council’s Rural Outreach Committee to visit.

“I think it’s always good to remind whomever that we are rural because it’s been contested with different groups in the past, and [it] doesn’t matter which group you’re talking to, Kodiak being rural, whether it’s fisheries or some other funding element, it’s always a discussion, so I think that would be a good avenue to approach.”

The Rural Outreach Committee does what its name describes: it serves as a line of communication between rural communities and the North Pacific Council.

Borough Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner said the Fishery Management Council does not see the City of Kodiak as rural.

“But we are, and I think we’re very interested and determined to keep our rural status, and I do think it’s important if we route our request through, that the Rural Outreach Committee come down to do outreach, and to me one of the main purposes of that is to remind them that we are rural and we think of ourselves as rural.”

The Kodiak Fisheries Work Group directed its fisheries analyst to communicate the community’s desire to the Rural Outreach Committee. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s next meeting is set for October 7 in Anchorage.

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