The Kenai City Council passed nine resolutions from the Board of Fish Proposals at their Jan. 15 meeting, showing its dedication to the consideration of fish issues in the community.
Following a Jan. 8 work session to review the more than 300 proposals from the 2014 Board of Fish, the council came to a consensus on a list of proposals affecting residents of the City of Kenai. The Board of Fish meets Jan. 31 in Anchorage to discuss the Upper Cook Inlet Finfish.
Among the nine resolutions, the City of Kenai opposed proposals 289, 103 and 138, while supported proposals 201, 229, 238, 270 and 286.
Council member Tim Navarre voted no on all but three of the proposals. He said he did not feel comfortable with the process of rushing to a decision without getting more information from the writer of each proposal.
“It is a bad practice to vote without getting all the needed information,” Navarre said. “It could come back to bite you.”
Proposal 289 would require that fish waste from the personal use fishery be ground up to three-quarters of an inch. Kenai Mayor Pat Porter said while she could see why this would be a benefit, the concerns of cost and obligation to the city would outweigh the good.
“While this utopian idea might sound good, the reality is it would most likely result in yet another burden from the state fishery for the city to fund and regulate, the resources for which are not available,” Porter said in a memorandum to the city council.
The resolution to oppose proposal 103, suggested by councilors Brian Gabriel and Mike Boyle, states, it “imposes unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions upon the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s ability to successfully manage mixed stock fisheries.”
Proposal 103, authored by Kenai River Sportfishing Association aims to amend the Upper Cook Inlet Salmon management plan to drop in river goals from a list of escapement goals.
Kenai City Manager Rich Koch said the proposal would provide the authority to close commercial and other fishing activities if any lower escapement goals were not achieved.
Navarre said he was opposed to voting on any resolution unless it was already proposed to by BOF. Resolutions on proposals 201, 229 and 270 were passed unanimously.
Proposal 201 comes from the BOF, supports the conservation measures to protect the early-run of king salmon from the lower boundary of Slikok Creek as a sanctuary area and restricts baiting for an additional two weeks in July in the Kenai River and Kasilof River.
Gabriel said he fished Slikok Creek as a young man and is concerned about the diminished returns of kings in recent years.
Navarre said he supported proposal 201 because he had heard a lot of public input on it and that Fish and Game wrote it. As far as the others he did not vote for he said the right way would be to hold a public hearing on each resolution and have the proposal writers come explain it.
Council member Ryan Marquis said they already set aside time for the public to comment on the proposals, while Gabriel argued Navarre’s point that the city should have a voice and make a decision one way or the other.
Dan Balmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org