Starting in 2007, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game funded a task force of fishing guides from across the state to work on a limited entry program for sportfish guides.
During the 2008 meetings of this group, it was determined that the limited entry concept might not meet legal challenge so they subsequently drafted language to create a Sport Fish Guide Board, similar to the Big Game Guide Board, which regulates big game guides, outfitters and transporters.
This task force and ADF&G has prepared draft language for this purpose, and they are now traveling throughout the state holding public meetings on this issue. Their intent is to weigh public comment and finalize this language to bring before the Legislature for approval during this next legislative session.
The draft language can be viewed at www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/statewide/guides/GSpecissues.cfm. There is also a link at this site to leave comments and view comments already received.
Public hearings will be held Monday at the Kenai River Center in Soldotna and Tuesday at the Islands and Oceans Visitor Center in Homer.
The Kenai Area Fisherman's Coalition encourages everyone interested in this issue to participate in these meetings or provide comment online. We appreciate this effort by the department to try to solve some of the conflict issues unlimited guiding has caused between the industry and the fishing public.
We do, however, feel the draft language falls short of any meaningful language for user conflict to be addressed and weighs too heavily on protecting the guide's economic well-being. We will be discussing the individual elements of our concerns during public testimony at the upcoming hearings.
Once again, we encourage local, private anglers to become involved in issues such as this one. Hope to see you there.
Kenai Area Fisherman's Coalition
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