Salmon Work Group gears up to fight possible threat to Kodiak fisheries

The intersection of the Sockeye run and the Chinook run. (Creative Commons photo by Ingrid Taylar/Flickr)
The intersection of the sockeye run and the chinook run. (Creative Commons photo by Ingrid Taylar/Flickr)

A Kodiak fisheries group is connected to a genetic study that found Cook Inlet fish in Kodiak waters.

In response to the study, the United Cook Inlet Drift Association asked the Alaska Board of Fisheries to look at a possible cap on commercial sockeye in the Kodiak area.

The Salmon Work Group, which also came together the last time the same issue came up in 1980s, has revitalized to address what many Kodiak salmon fishermen consider a threat to their fisheries.

Most recently, the Alaska Board of Fisheries rejected an agenda change request that would have moved up that discussion.

The board is now scheduled to have that discussion at its regular meeting cycle in 2020, which gives the salmon work group a few years to gear up.

Duncan Fields was a member of the work group back then, and is a member once again.

“The work of the salmon work group over the next year is to continue to assess the scientific information,” Fields said. “It’s to more fully evaluate the changes in the Kodiak management area regarding salmon and compare those to changes in Cook Inlet.”

It’s not likely to be the last group formed around the Cook Inlet – Kodiak issue.

At a recent meeting of the city and borough’s Kodiak Fisheries Work Group, fisheries analyst Heather McCarty said the Board of Fisheries may put together a task force.

“A working group made up of members of the stakeholder groups in each one of those places, but maybe a couple of board members,” McCarty said. “They do that quite often at the board of fish to sort of flesh out the issues and discuss things and then present them to the full board.”

McCarty said that meeting will be in March.

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