The Kodiak Fisheries Work Group took a look at itself in the proverbial mirror last week. For the majority of the two hour meeting, work group members thought about their purpose, their guiding principles, and their future goals.
City councilman John Whiddon said the work group can’t accommodate every issue that comes before it.
“One of the big concerns that’ve been voiced is that we get so much diverse and often conflicting information is how do we coalesce that into a meaningful comment to represent all groups ‘cause I don’t know if that’s even possible, so I think that’s why keeping a more narrow focus so that we can keep an eye on the most pertinent – and realizing too that as an advisory group and ultimately as our elected bodies, there’s only so much impact we have on the process anyway.”
He said the question is how to respond to community concerns in a meaningful way without raising expectations that they can’t meet. He said one reason the work group was established was to advise the Kodiak City Council and Kodiak Island Borough Assembly, and that hasn’t changed.
Borough assemblyman Kyle Crow expressed interest in speaking directly with user groups to figure out if their concerns were ones the work group wanted to add to its list.
Assemblyman Larry LeDoux said that he and Whiddon could communicate with user groups as representatives of the borough and city respectively.
“What I’m hearing, seeing almost, is a process where John and I sit down with some identified groups, and I think we can sit down and identify the groups in Kodiak whether they’re formal or informal, and we would just meet [with] them a couple of weeks before a meeting where they could come and bring us something in writing and we could go through it.”
Fisheries Analyst Heather McCarty suggested the work group include a section at the end of its meetings where the public and interest groups could propose matters for the work group to tackle.
The Fisheries Work Group will hold another meeting this week. It’ll focus on a genetic report that shows many Cook Inlet bound sockeye are being caught in Kodiak. Cook Inlet fishermen have been commenting that there need to be fewer such fish caught in the Kodiak area. That meeting will be in the assembly chambers on Thursday at 9 a.m.