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Op-ed: UCIDA proposals would hurt personal-use, sport fishing

Posted: December 22, 2013 - 5:54pm

The United Cook Inlet Drift Association (UCIDA), the industry organization that represents the Cook Inlet commercial drift gillnet fleet, and a number of UCIDA members acting as individuals have launched an all-out attack on personal use and sportfishing in Cook Inlet through a series of nearly 50 proposals submitted to the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF). The BOF will meet to deliberate these proposals and others in Anchorage January 31 through February 13, 2014.

High stakes meetings of the BOF and headline news are nothing new to the “fish wars” in Upper Cook Inlet. Each side has aggressively sought to defend or gain share over the years. But UCIDA’s current attack on personal use and sportfishing is one for the books.

Four user groups compete for five abundant but fully-allocated salmon species: commercial (drift and set net), sport (unguided and guided), personal use and subsistence. Upper Cook Inlet is home to over 375,000 Alaskans or 60 percent of the state’s population. The complex mixed stock nature and competing user demands of its fisheries are unique among all those regulated by the Board of Fisheries.

The Board of Fisheries attempted to bring some order to the chaos in 1977. Policy 77-27-FB allocated fish “primarily” to sport users prior to July 1, commercial users from that date to August 15 and sport again after that. Department was also directed “to manage the upper Cook Inlet commercial fisheries to minimize the incidental take of “Susitna coho”, “Kenai king” and “early Kenai coho”, all of which are present in the marine waters during the July 1-August 15 time period. This policy stands today as 5 AAC 21.363.

The term “minimize” was also addressed in the later versions of the Upper Cook Inlet Salmon Management Plan by providing prescriptive directions for the in season management of Northern District coho, late-run Kenai king and early-run Kenai coho. Now these prescriptive management directives are found in the various sockeye, king and other step-down management plans for various drainages.

UCIDA and others begin their attack with Proposal 136 seeking to strip the Drift Gillnet Management Plan of 35 years of directives which have evolved over the years to ensure adequate escapement of salmon into the Northern District Drainages and minimize the harvest of Northern District and Kenai coho salmon in order to provide sport and guided sport fishermen a reasonable opportunity to harvest these salmon stocks over the entire run.

UCIDA seeks to remove the “conservation corridor” adopted into regulation in 2011, which provides the department specific instructions how to allow salmon into the Northern District. In place of the corridor, UCIDA seeks to remove other sub-district designations requested by ADFG and add weeks to its fishing season. UCIDA also asks to lower the number of sockeye salmon required in the Kenai River so as to allow even more fishing time for the drift gillnet fishery. In a year of average abundance, this proposal would result in at least 500,000 fewer sockeye, coho and chum salmon reaching streams and rivers that support the personal use and sport fisheries of Upper Cook Inlet.

UCIDA and UCIDA members continues their attack with a series of proposals that dictate what they think the world should look like for personal use and sport fishermen. First, UCIDA seeks to reduce the limit for personal use by at least 50% and prohibit dip netting from boats. They then want to prohibit catch and release of all salmon all the time, prohibit bait and require barbless hooks. UCIDA follows up with a proposal to prohibit sport fishing for coho salmon on the Little Susitna River on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. UCIDA, the working folk love this one.

There are more, in fact almost 40 more, that seek to expand UCIDA’s opportunity or dramatically reduce the opportunity for personal use and sport fishermen. UCIDA might have chosen to forward a progressive suite of proposals to optimize fishing opportunity and economic value for its members while also acknowledging the legitimate but competing values of personal use, sport and other commercial fisheries. Instead, UCIDA proposes to have it all.

Kevin Delaney is a former Alaska Department of Fish and Game Sport Fish Director and is currently a fisheries consultant for the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. To learn more and write a letter to the Board of Fisheries go to www.krsa.com.

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Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 12/30/13 - 05:21 pm
2
0
Complete and Utter Nonsense

I have never read so many fairy tales as in here. You people have absolutely no idea what you are talking about! 123 is possibly the worst; he knows nothing! You all must spend the Winter contemplating the King "Crises" you pretty well made for yourselves. You get so worked up, I'm surprised your keyboards still work from all the angry sputtering!

And yet, you know nothing about Commercial Fishing. I've been seining, drifting, crabbing, longlining, and trawling for 45 years. Not here, thank gawd. Only time was chasing Herring around Iniskin Bay. Don't like the muddy, gray river you call the Cook Inlet. I'm from Cordova and Kodiak, plus a lot of time in Dutch. You guys need to get out and do the work and maybe then you'll know how it is out there.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 12/30/13 - 07:26 pm
0
3
LHART11

I have news for you LHART11, YOU ARE A COMMERCIAL FISHERMAN, even if you do not know it. A person does not need to fish with a gill net to be a commercial fisherman and an angler does not need to fish with a rod & reel. These are ways which you might be able to identify these users but the words which flow from your mouth or keyboard can also reveal commercial or angler intent. I judge LHART11 to be a commercial fisherman and not a sport fisherman. If this opinion offends LHART11 maybe he should consider asking why complete strangers believe him to be something which he believes he is not.

I can guarantee you that if someone claim me to be a commercial fisherman I would specifically take that person to task and specifically respond to each claim alleged to prove me to be a commercial fisherman. I would not "word-smith" ignore the issues and only blast out "straw man, concocting, misrepresentation, fallacious, distorted, superficial, libelous, false, dissertation, erroneous, tiring, laborious, not honest, insane, ignorant, attacks, liar, bias, vitriol, presumptive, arduous descriptive nothingness.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 12/31/13 - 01:22 am
1
1
Seafarer

Seafarer, since you have been around to see some of the highs and lows of our herring and crab resources, could you give us your prospective on how these two resources are doing today?

LHART11
75
Points
LHART11 12/31/13 - 04:03 pm
2
0
Kooky Nonsense

Hmm...so I'm really a commercial fisherman and just don't know it - because I simply believe I'm not one, and a stranger believes I am.

123, that kooky nonsense echoes the rest of the garbage you've posted. So, using your own advice, I will take it to task. It's time to knock down your straw man. Prove I am a commercial fisherman. Prove you are not one.

See, not everyone who disagrees with Kevin Delaney, commercial guides like you, and your political cronies at KRSA is a commercial fisherman. The gig is up, and private sportfisherman like me recognize what you and your selfish groups bring to our sportfisheries - look no further than the Kenai River. Oh, and enough vitriol; we don't have to hate commercial fishermen to be sportfishermen. There is no shame in being a commercial fisherman. In fact most I've met are respectable people with a respectable job who play a vital role in my community.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 12/31/13 - 06:00 pm
4
0
Thank you LHart

Thank you LHart for being a voice of reason in our fishery. I believe there is plenty of fish for every user group and that we are just spoiled rotten by the amazing resources our area provides. People outside wish they had our problems with the resource. I'm sorry you have to sportfish beside people like 123 in your piscatorial pusuits but it is good for folks reading all of this to see the hatefulness and hypocrisy spewing from 123 and KRSA.

smithtb
240
Points
smithtb 01/05/14 - 11:00 am
2
0
Give it up...

LHhart, Once 123 has "judged" you to be a commercial fisherman, you really should give it up. He's never wrong, and everyone know that those "commie fisher thugs" directly sell fish for money - a practice that warps their mind like crack:)

123, you should for once try to have an argument on an anonymous forum without labeling everyone. Let your arguments stand up on their own merit if they're really that great - it shouldn't matter who you're arguing against. Pointing out what you speculate people do for a living is irrelevant, and shows just how warped your own perspective is.

Now, lets see if you can respond in 3 reasonable paragraphs or less without bringing up my being a crack-crazed commie-fisher thug.

kenai123
1312
Points
kenai123 01/07/14 - 08:27 am
1
2
LHhart

LHhart, ten posters label me a crack-crazed commie-fishing guide and when I refer to them as commercial fishermen you claim it is improper to label them? People place labels on lots of things, to reduce response effort in this case. I fail to locate your admonition attempting to get these posters to stop labeling me therefore I take your claim to be a hollow jab, which is wrong. Also I have never called anyone a crack-crazed commie-fisher thug ever, wrong again.

LHART11
75
Points
LHART11 01/12/14 - 11:30 am
1
0
Contentious and Confused...

kenai123, you're confusing someone else's comments with mine - I said nothing about "labeling" or "crack-crazed commie" anything.

I asked you to back up just one of your statements. You did not; because like your other comments, you could not.

Obviousy you want the comments of Kevin Delaney's piece to be a contentious, personal argument smearing commercial fishing. Understand; creating problems and generating smear campaigns is not what this fishery needs.

This week our Legislators overwhelmingly REJECTED the proposal to ban commercial fishing - a proposal that you, Kevin Delaney, and groups like KRSA and KRPGA support. A proposal that most of us see as a greedy, allocation-grabbing attempt to get the commercialized sport fishery more Kings at the cost of others.

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