High ranking Navy brass were in Kodiak during ComFish Alaska to review options tor the navy training exercise scheduled to begin in the Gulf of Alaska the first week of May.
Many salmon fishermen and local communities are opposing both the scheduling and location of the exercise.
Fishermen and local governments from around the gulf have expressed concerns about how the training will adversely affect fish and marine wildlife.
Some version of the training, named Northern Edge 2017, has been held every two years since the mid-1970s. These trainings include all branches of the military and people from all over the country.
But it is the Navy’s portion of the training that has fishermen and coastal residents concerned. This year’s exercise will be held in early May, a critical time for marine life in the gulf.
Two speakers hosted a public discussion forum at last week’s ComFish Alaska held in Kodiak–Rear Admiral John Korka from the U.S. Pacific Fleet and Alex Stone, who is an environmental planner for the Navy.
Rear Admiral Korka explained the Navy’s plans and said this year’s training will be much smaller than those in the past.
He added that the Navy does its best to take comments from local residents into consideration when deciding details of exercises.
The comment about listening to local communities was questioned later in the forum. The gist of the speakers’ explanation is that the training needs to be held in early May because of operational and other demands of the military. And while the Navy can’t change the time and place of the exercise, it has taken local comments into consideration in the effort to mitigate the harm or any possible damage to environment that the training will cause.
Local biologist and environmentalist, Stacy Studebaker was not satisfied with that explanation. She said local residents are the experts in matters related to local waters and marine life, and said it seems the Navy didn’t listened to them.
Korka explained that many factors went into scheduling Northern Edge 2017, including availability of various ships and equipment.