Local Kodiak government will put forth a resolution asking Governor Bill Walker and the Alaska Legislature not to cut the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Department or commercial fisheries budget any further.
Kodiak Island Assembly members Kyle Crow and Rebecca Skinner are sponsoring the resolution and, at an assembly work session last week, Skinner explained why a healthy budget is vital to state fisheries.
“With the division of commercial fisheries, if they don’t have adequate money to monitor the fish populations, they’ll close a fishery or they won’t open a fishery or a fishery will opened at a lesser level because they’re wanting to keep kind of a safety buffer, and all of those things reduce the fishing opportunity, so that’s hurting our small fishing businesses, it’s hurting the municipalities.”
As well as the coastal communities and the state, she said.
The other part of the resolution is the request that new fees imposed on the commercial seafood industry go back into Fish & Game. Skinner said the idea is based on a similar situation within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“So, there was increased hunting fees and a portion or all of those fees, I’m not sure what, actually go back into wildlife monitoring and research programs so that I guess particularly the guided hunts can continue because the managers have a pretty confident idea what the game populations are doing.”
The assembly, the Kodiak City Council, and the Kodiak Fisheries Work Group have voiced support for the resolution, and at an upcoming assembly regular meeting, assembly members will vote on whether or not to move it forward.
The next step is to send it to the Alaska Municipal League, a coalition of local government leaders from throughout the state. It needs support from representatives of five different member municipalities in the League.
The assembly’s regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday starting at 6:30 p.m. in the assembly chambers and live on KMXT.