The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is opening public comment on a plan to relax Steller sea lion protections and allow more commercial fishing in the western Aleutian Islands.
The agency released a draft of its new regulations on Tuesday. They would pave the way for the first commercial harvests of Atka mackerel and Pacific cod since 2011.
That’s when federal managers banned fishing on those species in the western Aleutians. It was intended to help an endangered population of sea lions. But commercial fishing interests and the state of Alaska argued that the science behind the fishing bans were faulty.
After years of litigation — and a comprehensive, court-ordered reassessment of the protection plan — NOAA ruled that commercial fishing wouldn’t jeopardize the sea lions if it was done under the right conditions.
Members of the public will have 45 days to weigh in on a draft of the new fishing regulations. The comment period will close on August 15. NOAA’s aiming to finalize the new rules by January 2015.
- The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is included on a list of city-run facilities that could close. What would happen to the 85,000 items in its collection?
- The union representing Haines municipal employees has filed a grievance against the borough on behalf of police officers. The grievance stems from Assembly member Tom Morphet’s decision to publicize accusations against the police department at an Assembly meeting earlier this month.
- House Bill 211 sponsored by Kiana Democrat Dean Westlake met opposition in a House session early Monday afternoon.
- The legislation would close a quarter of the gap between what the state government spends and what it raises.