Agenda and Roadmap for the 2014 Upper Cook Inlet BOF meeting

The agenda and roadmap for the upcoming 2014 Upper Cook Inlet (UCI) meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) has been posted on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) webpage for the meeting. 236 proposals will be reviewed by the BOF during the 14 day UCI meeting. The agenda and roadmap outline the approach of how the BOF will take up specific issues during the meeting, to be held at the Egan Center in Anchorage from Friday, January 31 through Thursday, February 13, 2014.

The tentative agenda is provided to give a general idea to the public of the board’s anticipated schedule. During the first three days of the meeting (Fri. – Sun.) there will be BOF and ADFG staff reports, and public and advisory committee testimony. Board committees and public panels will be organized late Sunday afternoon. The deadline to sign up for public testimony is 9:00 am on Saturday, February 1.

First up for committee work is the Committee of the Whole – Group 1, which will work on the morning of Monday, February 3, with review of UCI Stocks of Concern and the UCI Management Plan and board deliberation immediately to follow.

Committee work will then shift to Committee of the Whole – Group 2, Group 3 and Group 4, which will continue through the evening of Tuesday, February 4: Group 2 will examine the Kenai River Late-Run King Salmon Management Plan; Group 3 will look at the Kenai River Early-Run King Salmon Management Plan; and Group 4 will take up the Kenai River Early- and Late-Run King Salmon Sport Fisheries. Board deliberations on proposals for Groups 2 – 4 is scheduled for Wednesday, February 5.

On Thursday, February 6, two committees, A and B, will meet concurrently to review proposals for the Personal Use Fisheries (Committee A) and Cook Inlet Commercial Fishing (Committee B).

The Committee of the Whole will resume on Friday, February 7 and Saturday, February 8. Group 5 (Friday) focused on the Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan, Kasilof Sockeye Salmon Management Plan, and Commercial Fishing Seasons, Periods, and Permit Stacking, while Group 6 (Saturday) will take up the Central District Drift Management Plan, Pink Salmon Management Plan, and Coho Salmon Commercial and Sport Fisheries. The BOF will deliberate on proposals for the Committee of the Whole Groups 5 – 6 on Sunday, February 9.

On Monday, February 10, committee work continues with Committees C and D, which meet concurrently. Committee C will be concerned with Kenai River Resident Species, Guides, Boundaries and Habitat, while Committee D will focus on Northern Cook Inlet Escapement Goals, and Commercial, Sport, and Subsistence Fishing. Committee E will meet on the morning of Tuesday, February 11 and take up Upper Cook Inlet / Kenai / Kasilof Sport Fish.

Board deliberations for Committees A – E will start on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 11 and extend through Thursday, February 13, with miscellaneous business, including any petitions, findings, resolutions letters addressed before adjournment.

The notes to the agenda point out that the daily meetings will start at 8:00 am or as announced by the board chair during the meeting. Testimony is limited to 3 minutes for individuals and groups and 10 minutes for Advisory Committee representatives. The board committees and public panels provide a means for additional review of proposals, the purpose of which is to broaden public participation in the regulatory process, provide another forum for stakeholders to discuss resolution of contentious issues, and provide additional detailed information relative to proposals.

14 days is a long meeting schedule. As noted in our prior post, the UCI meetings of the BOF are the longest scheduled during its three-year meeting cycle. As you can see in the agenda and roadmap, the meeting covers a wide range of fisheries management issues and the BOF will deliberate on 236 proposals submitted through the public process. KRSA has submitted 12 proposals that cover a range of topics. KRSA feels that the most important issue of the 2014 UCI BOF meeting will be how to best deal with low numbers of Kenai River king salmon. It is heartening to see that this critical issue will be examined at the front portion of the meeting.

The BOF process in Alaska is one of the most publically oriented fishery management processes anywhere in the world. Anyone can submit proposals for the BOF to consider; anyone can provide written and or oral testimony; members of the public are encouraged to engage in the board committee process and anyone can submit additional comments on any proposal during the meeting prior to board deliberation on that proposal. We encourage members of the public who want their voice to be heard as sport anglers, as personal use harvesters, as conservationists, as concerned citizens, to become engaged in the process.

If you care about Kenai Kings and haven’t seen our Save Our Kenai Kings video yet, please take five minutes to watch how the low numbers of Kenai Kings is impacting our community. We also encourage you to read our two-page fact sheet and then take action by letting members of the BOF know your concerns regarding Kenai Kings. Now is the time to become engaged and let your voice be heard. Now is the time to act to Save our Kenai Kings.