Cook Inlet conservation corridor debated at Board of Fisheries meeting
It takes fish to make fish and that has members of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s Fish and Wildlife Commission worried.
On Friday morning, commission members brought their concerns to the Board of Fisheries. They want to ensure that the Cook Inlet conservation corridor, established back in 2014, remains in place.
The corridor restricts some commercial fishing in an effort to allow more coho and sockeye to return to spawning grounds in the Mat-Su Borough.
Commission members say the restrictions have lead to stronger salmon runs and they want to keep that trend going.
“We have what’s called stock of concern,” Mat-Su Fish and Wildlife Commission member Larry Engel said. “It’s a label that the Board of Fish gives stocks that are unhealthy. We have eight of the 14 statewide in the Matanuska-Susitna area. We need to restore those runs to health.”
However, not everyone is happy with the conservation corridor It requires drift gillnet fleets to fish closer to shore.
Several commercial fishermen argued to the Board of Fisheries that ever since the corridor was put in place, their business has suffered.
“I enjoy hiring young people and teaching them the profession of fishing,” said commercial fisherman Brent Keene. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to do that because they don’t see any future in this industry.”
The next Board of Fisheries meeting begins March 8 at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel and Spa.
Mat-Su Fish and Wildlife commission members expect to learn the fate of the conservation corridor in the coming days.
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