The Kodiak City Council breezed through its short agenda during last night’s regular meeting.
There were no public comments during the one public hearing about the proposed changes to city fines and fees. That measure was passed unanimously.
As KMXT’s Maggie Wall reports, council comments tended to focus on fish.
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Kodiak is a fishing town, so it’s not unusual for local officials and elected office holders to talk about fish and the community’s ties to the water.
Two big fish stories have been in the news the past week or so. The sinking of the F/V Scandies Rose, and this weekend’s meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries which will be held in Kodiak.
City Mayor Pat Branson did something she said she doesn’t normally do, but she said the sinking of the Scandies Rose affected many.
“I wanted to give my sympathy to the families of the Scandies Rose sinking. I usually don’t give sympathies out here on the dias, but I think that affected so many of us in the community and certainly the families.”
Council Member John Whiddon did likewise.
“Well, since you open the door, I think it takes to add more condolences to the family of the Scandies Rose that lost loved ones. And, you know, that’s it was such a tragic event.
“And as I know, it sent shockwaves to our fishing community. And it just reminded all of us that, that here we live on an island and we’re fishing community–that’s always just so close to an event, which is so thankful that it doesn’t happen often. But this one is really touched a lot of lives.”
Whiddon is a retired Coast Guard helicopter pilot who could relate to what the rescue crews went through to save the two survivors.
“And I’d also like to point out and congratulate the Coast Guard, who went out there at two o’clock in the morning, a long, long way from anywhere, fuel, landing spots or anything else. And were able to bring back the two survivors who, as tragic as it was, I want to just comment on the Coast Guard on doing what they do best.”
On another fisheries related topic, several last night made a point of inviting residents to attend a community reception for the members of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. The meet and great will be held Saturday at the Alutiiq Center on Near Island from 6-9 p.m.
The Fish Board is in Kodiak this weekend to consider changes to fishing regulations that could have major impacts on the community.
The meetings are a very big deal, said the mayor.
“We will be holding a reception for the Board of Fish, community reception, Saturday evening at the Afognak Center. The Chamber is hosting and the borough and the city are co-sponsoring. So it’s open to the community and we’re fishing community and let’s make that known to the Board of Fish.”
Council Member Rich Walker echoed Branson.
“The Board of Fish meetings this week. It’s a big deal. And I hope we see a lot of people out at the meetings and the reception over on Saturday.”
Council Member Terry Haines, himself a salmon fisherman, said salmon is not just a fishing issue. The decisions being made by the Board of Fish reach far and wide and will impact everyone, not just salmon fishermen.
“What they are going to be talking about is extremely, extremely relevant to our Kodiak salmon fishermen.
“And I know that you might think I’m not a salmon fisherman, but I don’t think there’s anybody in the whole town that isn’t affected by the salmon fishery. It’s a really broad based fishery. It’s a family owned fishery.
“And it’s one of those fisheries that takes the value of the fishery and really spreads it out. It goes into a lot of hands and as a multiplier effect for the salmon fishery that sometimes I think goes unrecognized.”
The Board of Fisheries meetings are being held at the convention center downtown, all day Saturday through Tuesday. All meetings are open to the public.
If you want to learn how the process works and how to testify on an issue, there’s a special free training Saturday at 12:15 at Fishermen’s Hall.
Saturday’s public reception is at the Afognak Center on Near Island from 6 – 9 p.m.