Rocket launch slated around fisheries

Posted: Tuesday, February 01, 2005

KODIAK (AP) — Military officials are working around the cod and tanner crab fisheries to determine the best date for an upcoming target missile launch from the Kodiak Launch Complex.

Missile Defense Agency officials had previously said a rocket likely would be fired in mid-February, and the Coast Guard recently gave notice to establish safety zones near Narrow Cape and Sitkinak for Feb. 12 to 18.

But the previous timing ''is being adjusted to accommodate the needs of the cod and tanner crab fishermen,'' according to agency commander Lt. Gen. Trey Obering.

Access to the safety zones is prohibited during launch operations at the Alaska Aerospace Development Corp.'s launch facility at Narrow Cape.

AADC officials requested the change of the launch window in light of meetings with the Kodiak Salmon Fisherman's Association, Alaska Fish and Wildlife biologists, MDA officials said.

The Coast Guard enforced offshore safety zones during a test rocket launch in December, when no commercial fishery was open.

The Gulf of Alaska cod season began Jan. 1 and normally closes in mid-February.

Due to an ongoing price dispute between fishermen and processors, no tanner crab have been caught in the commercial fishery which opened Jan. 15 and lasts until March 31 or until the quota is reached.

For security reasons, the Missile Defense Agency does not make the precise date of an intended launch public more than one week before it is set to take place.

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Information from: Kodiak Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com



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