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Upper Cook Inlet salmon management plan up for scrutiny

Posted: Wednesday, February 06, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The Alaska Board of Fisheries convenes a two-week session Wednesday in which it will look at how to better manage Upper Cook Inlet salmon fisheries.

At issue are measures to increase the abundance of sockeye, chinook, coho, chum and pink salmon for all user groups.

The board also has asked the state Department of Fish and Game to present a management plan for pink and chum salmon. The board currently prohibits Upper Cook Inlet fisheries specifically for pink and chum salmon.

The board needs a plan that will mesh with existing plans for chinook, sockeye and coho, while at the same time providing commercial fishing opportunities when there is a surplus of pinks and chums, said James Brady, regional supervisor for commercial fisheries for Southcentral Alaska.

The board also will consider numerous commercial and sport fishing proposals.

Roland Maw, a spokesman for the United Cook Inlet Drift Association at Soldotna, said the fry that are being produced out of Skilak Lake with the current escapement policies are too small.

''We want to have a discussion about fewer spawners. There are a large number of fry competing for a small food source, so each one ends up being a lot smaller,'' he said.

Public testimony is scheduled for Thursday. Committees will report their findings on Feb. 15. The public will then have several hours to review these findings and submit written testimony before the board begins final deliberations Feb. 16.

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