Fish Board meets in Kodiak next week

The BOF oversees management of commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries in state waters.

by | January 5, 2024

Among 30 proposals: new sablefish and herring fisheries

BY Peggy Parker/SeafoodNews.com
January 5, 2024

The 7-member Alaska Board of Fisheries will meet in Kodiak, January 9–12, 2024, to consider new management proposals for salmon, herring, and sablefish. Proposals have been submitted by members of the public, fishing organizations, local Fish and Game Advisory Committees, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

All portions of the meeting are open to the public and a live video stream is intended to be available on the board’s website.

Stakeholders and other members of the public are encouraged to submit written comments or give oral testimony during the meeting. Anyone intending to testify must sign up at the meeting site in Kodiak, no later than 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 9. Proposals can be found at the ADF&G Board of Fisheries website.

Traditional Knowledge reports included for first time

For the first time ever, the board will hear Traditional Knowledge (TK) reports from the public following the ADF&G staff reports. In a statement earlier this week, the agency encouraged anyone interested in providing a TK report to the board to sign up at the meeting site no later than noon on Tuesday, January 9. More information on this can be found in the board’s December 6, 2023 Supplemental Notice.

Also, the BOF’s Committee on Board Process, Management, and Research Needs will meet on January 18 at 1 p.m. for a web conference on incorporating Traditional Knowledge reports in each meeting. The committee is made up of three board members: Märit Carlson-Van Dort (chair), Mike Wood, and Greg Svendsen.

Kodiak’s downtown harbor Credit: Marion Owen

Proposals include new Kodiak sablefish, herring fisheries

At the Kodiak meeting, the board will be considering 30 proposals, about half on salmon management around Kodiak Island and half on sports issues, subsistence proposals, and groundfish species proposals. 

Two non-salmon proposals of interest are Prop 52 which establishes a new Kodiak Area commercial sablefish fishery on September 1 for pot, hook and line and jig gears. Author Dia Kuzman said “During the fall September Pacific cod fishery there is good amount of sablefish inside 3 miles. Currently there is no directed fishery, fisherman have to discard the sablefish which results in some dead loss. It will be a good opportunity for new entry younger generation fisherman to participate who don’t own any IFQ sablefish.”

Fisherman and tireless advocate Bruce Schactler of Kodiak

Prop. 57, from Bruce Schactler would create two herring seasons a year, the first in spring targeting sac roe as usual, and the second in the fall targeting herring for market in smoked, canned, pickled and other product forms that focus on the meat.

“As the sac roe market continues to decline and the need to diversify and bring new value to the herring fishery, management must be modified to allow harvest to take place when the herring are past their spawning phase, and into the high fat stage of life,” Schactler explained in his proposal. “New Product made from herring, be it canned, pickled, or smoked requires higher fat and better nutrition profiles. This can only be realized after the herring have been feeding for 5 or 6 months past spawning.

“Kodiak is unique in Alaska, having the right size herring (+-200 grams) and the geographical access during the fall and early winter where this nutritional profile is a at its peak,” he wrote.

Schactler noted that most allowable herring harvest in Alaska will go unharvested in 2024 due to the falling market. “To change the options and direction for unmarketable Alaska herring, management must change to being allowing access to these needed food grade herring,” he wrote.

All meeting information including the agenda, roadmap, agency reports, and public and advisory committee comments will be available on the meeting website.

The Kodiak meeting is the second of three between October 2023 and April 2024. The three year cycle of BOF meetings covers all fisheries in all areas of Alaska.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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