Sports fishermen voice concerns at commission meeting
It’s an ongoing and continuous battle for fish in the Mat-Su Borough and Tuesday evening, sports fishermen voiced their concerns to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game at a public hearing held by the Mat-Su Borough’s Fish and Wildlife Commission.
“Last year was a travesty for coho fishing,” Mark Campbell, a sports fisherman, told the Fish and Game staff.
Many of them questioned how Fish and Game can best manage the Conservation Corridor -- it limits commercial drift netting to the “harvest zone” near the shores of Anchor Point to Nikiski.
Larry Engel, a member of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, addressed the Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten and his staff what he’s been hearing from fishermen in the borough.
“That the management of the Central District commercial fishing is too dominated by the desire to achieve maximum sustained yields in the sockeye of the Kenai River,” he said.
While no commercial fishermen showed up to defend their interests, Department of Fish and Game staff outlined some restrictions they’ve seen this year.
“The four periods we had — three or regular 12 hour periods — one was truncated to half of that,” said Scott Kelley, director of commercial fisheries with the Department of Fish and Game.
Another speaker said he wants a solution -- both sport and commercial fishermen can share and ensures salmon availability is equal for everyone.
“I have no problem with the commercial fisheries,” he said. “It’s a valid and useful resource that we all need to use, but we need to see some equity amongst the users and that’s equity through time and through numbers.”