Alaska Board of Fish live blogging – part two


Feb 7, 2010

Good Morning All-

We are due to start again this morning at 8 AM AK time.

Yesterday afternoon was interesting, at least from my point of view, to listen to how each BOF Board Member worked to both get questions answered but also to get his thoughts and/or issues out and onto the public record.

As frustrating as this might be to many fishermen or those who try and watch, in my opinion it is one of the things that Alaska seems to get mostly ‘right’.

The public is involved basically at all steps of the process. The proposals can be submitted by anyone from staff to just the general public, even out of state people are able to.

If you feel there needs to be a change in or a new fishing regulation you can get involved.

They are not screened or gone through before being published and distributed to the public.

Then as we get ready for the meeting, every three years for your area, there is an opportunity to submit comment of support or concerns to be included.

Many times this is evidence to back up a proposal or disagree.

Then during the meeting time you can come and go through giving public testimony. Submit more written comments (RCs), discuss in a committee that is set up by part of the board and all those who are interested in a group of proposals.

A few more back and forth times and you get to where we are yesterday and today, deliberations and voting.

I am hoping that some of the Yukon area people, or those who work with that part of the state, will comment on yesterday before I jump in a do a recap.

Today we should be dealing with a group of proposals that deal with the area JUST south of Bristol Bay Area and could be pretty hot, at least in the audience :-) Although they will restrain themselves at least until they get out in the hall way as you can’t be disruptive. Quickest way to be asked to leave!!

Overall the main concern seems to be the ability for village fishermen to fish pretty much ‘in their front yards’ and not HAVE TO travel up to hundreds of miles because of a management style that allows the fish to be intercepted before they can get into their ‘home’ or terminal rivers.

Not only our area villages but also one south of us and then still another one that is technically in the Area M territory feel their fish are being intercepted before they get to their terminal rivers.

This is a case of economics of who can afford to continue to live in their villages, children not being able to participate in something families have been doing for generations, and families that are struggling in all sorts of ways due to the changes in their villages.

Businesses that are closing up, homes being sold and all the issues that come with a village that is losing members.

We will not even get into the good management practices many feel this style is not following, the issues of is it REALLY true that our runs are sustainable, and finally if fishing as we know it is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

I will check in just before 8 AM.

Thanks for checking in and being interested, it is appreciated.

~ Victoria Briggs


60 Responses to “Alaska Board of Fish live blogging – part two”

  1. alaskapi Says:

    Good luck today Vic! Won’t be able to follow along so will check in tonight.
    Here’s the tenative agenda the board is following- including groupings of proposals by broad subject/area matter.

  2. UgaVic Says:

    Good Morning
    We will be starting with the Committee D grouping of proposals. The area covered with most of this is what is called the North Peninsula.
    This is an area on the Bristol Bay side of the Alaska Peninsula and just south of our southern neighbors of Port Heiden.
    We are starting

  3. UgaVic Says:

    We are starting with Proposal 163–
    Dealing with sport fishing of King Salmon

  4. UgaVic Says:

    This is a ‘staff’ proposal to do what is commonly called a house keeping suggestion.
    It brings it in line with others regulations of other areas, standardizing it more.
    The effect of the change is not expected to be much if at all. Less than 5% of sportfishermen catch 3 fish.
    This regulation reduces it 2 each day.
    passes 6-0

  5. UgaVic Says:

    We are now on Proposal 30 and Mr Webster is conflicted out so he has turned the chair over to Mr Johnstone.
    This will allow our fishermen from BB, Area T, to fish the river just south of Ugashik in the month of July.
    We are unable to fish that area now during the month of July.

  6. UgaVic Says:

    The original proposal was amended to reduce some of the area down to just Cinder River and just inside Port Heiden.
    There was no concenses in the committee, which usually means both sides were entrenched in their views :-)
    There is a possible conflict with some laws of Limited Entry and this will have to be reviewed as it is now amended if it passes.

  7. UgaVic Says:

    It sounds like the ‘staff’ meaning F&G, is at least somewhat in support.
    There is also possible issue with enforcement, i.e., Troopers, and they are stating they are concerned with a few aspects of it.
    They did some review and it looks like at least part those were solved with his investiation. It did bring up some other issues like possible gear that could come into trouble.
    Lots of discussion on if the fishermen from BB would come down and fish this area.

  8. UgaVic Says:

    The biologist just stated he felt less than 10 boats would actually show up to fish this.

  9. UgaVic Says:

    Still lots of discussion on who and how many boats would show up.
    There is genetic data being pulled the last 3 years but results is still not available.
    Now the law enforcement is speaking again and saying given this is actually such a small are he feels also only a few boats would show up.

  10. UgaVic Says:

    Now the biologist is stating the area in front of the river should be open.
    THIS is NOT what is wanted by the fishermen proposing this. It will allow them to intercept even more fish headed to BB and IF this were to be opened stands a darn good chance of hurting instead helping those intended.

  11. UgaVic Says:

    Finally the discussion is turning to the true intent of the porposal, that is to allow local fishermen to harvest fish closer to their home.
    No real questions are being addressed by the board on economic issues.
    Thank heavens at least one board member is trying to bring it this forward, the increased economic opportunity.
    Mr Jensen is saying he wants only the guys who are allowed there now, Area M, to be able to do this although they do not do it.
    There is so much back and forth that I am having a REAL hard time seeing which way this is going to go

  12. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 130
    fails 1-4

  13. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 29 is skipped due to action on #30

  14. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 146 – changing some times in Cidner River for the fall fishery. Makes it easier for those of us who fly fish out to do so.
    IT was supported at the committee level.
    Pretty straight forward and should pass.
    Mr Johnstone is against it as he feels it will benefit too fw people.
    Mr Jensen is bringing up what the timings of Ugashik. We do not want to have it so that fishermen can fish ALL the time, i.e. conserve the run and not over fish it

  15. UgaVic Says:

    The biologist is claiming that in 1992 there were over 100 permits fishing that area- WOW

  16. UgaVic Says:

    I am getting VERY frustrated with this group of men. They do not understand marketing and despite trying to explain a basic concept early on in this process, they continue to head back into OLD concepts.

  17. UgaVic Says:

    This is also a instance where the actual fishermen are trying to conserve the run and allow for a healthy run and a few board members are just not getting it.

  18. UgaVic Says:

    Here we are trying to get a better product out to the market and increase our ‘market awareness’ built and we are having to fight them. Frustrating….one woman wanting to stand up and say ‘hey guys..simple concept ..PLEASE listen’
    Maybe a last few comments are getting through ….hoping
    passed – YIPPEE 6-0!!

  19. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 145-
    took no action due to action on 146

  20. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 147—
    To change some opening for a fishery.
    The F&G do not support it
    The locals of Nelson Lagoon want the ability to fish those fish that are bound for their river, instead of having them caught way out in the bay before they even get to river.
    It really tough on the local fishermen of villages

  21. UgaVic Says:

    The idea of this proposal is good BUT there might be some issues with how it is written versus what was really intended.
    My guess is it will go down due to this and will have to be cleaned up if they want to persue this.

  22. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal failed – 6-0 I believe
    Short break

  23. UgaVic Says:

    Back from break

  24. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 148 – mandating ‘windows’ for fish to get past certain areas.
    This is an intercept issue for those of us at BB

  25. UgaVic Says:

    There was no consenses in the committee work, again meaning we were pretty much at a log jam on agreeing between one area and the other.

  26. UgaVic Says:

    There was a lot of discussion on helping Nelson Lagoon and the fish that are being intercept.
    They are now talking about the % of catch that Nelson Lagoon has been getting the low the last 2 years and average for the third year back. Six years ago had the largest on record for them.
    These issues are hard to manage due to these ups and downs

  27. UgaVic Says:

    Chairman Webster is commenting how he is a supporter of windows generally but how this is written he can’t support it.
    Holds out hope for the Nelson Lagoon village IF this downward slope continues. Is also tough as we can’t revisit it for 3 more years.
    Failed 0-6

  28. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 149—- this is another proposal trying to get them to allow openings based on only one river clear up in BB.
    This most likely will not pass as it ties the hands of the biologists too much in how they manage the fish runs

  29. UgaVic Says:

    There is now discussion on a terminal fishery versus a mixed stock fishery. They seem to be getting them mixed up in that they are trying to say they are apples to apples.
    We as fishermen MUST get better at understanding this AND getting it WRITTEN into a form that does not leave the board quessing what is going on.
    Also there seems to be some fine back and forth on language and details.
    More and more a fisherman also has to be a pretty damn aware biologist and politician.

  30. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 151 – to close an area just south of us in Ugashik and has been a BIG issue since it was opened by the board just 3 years ago.
    LOTS of discussion and IF there was going to be fist fights THIS would do it:-)

  31. UgaVic Says:

    There is an amendment to change the language so that it will change the line to not totally close it but bring the borders or ‘line’ closer to shore.
    The hope, by BB fishermen, is that the amount of intercept fish will be reduced.
    This amendment should help that, hopefully

  32. UgaVic Says:

    We are trying to bring the area they are talking about closer to shore to ‘terminalize’ the fish there. Only catch the fish boudn for that river and not intercept lots of other rivers’ fish.
    Chairman Webster is bringing it out that they JUST opened this area just 3 years ago to help catch about 50,000 more fish that were meant for another river.
    To say they took care of what they wanted is an understatement, BUT in the process they are NOT considering what impact they had with other rivers’ fish.

  33. UgaVic Says:

    Chairman Webster is offering to allow the F&G to open up the area IF they are having issues. He would like to see this pass and is offer to take a break to modify it if that will help pass it.

  34. UgaVic Says:

    Mr Jensen is saying a lot of the same thing- he is basically ignoring the intercept concept of this entire fishery.

  35. UgaVic Says:

    taking a break for 5 mintues

  36. UgaVic Says:

    I wish I could show you a video of all the different parties running around to the different groups and to board members with the hopes of coming to a compromise for this vilalge and small fishery.
    A speeded up version would be like one of those old blk & white silent films!
    There are a few board members AND fishermen that just get stuck on one piece of the puzzle and you are not going to move them.
    I do feel that having genetic data, that has been in the works for YEARS, needs to be pushed to completion.
    Many of the disagreements of who’s fish and where they are traveling would help greatly in these discussions.
    When someone wants to believe what they are fully bought into believing they seldom will listen to other evidence.
    I can loose my temper at pig headedness BUT then again I TEND to get pig headed going the other way–It is a ROFL moment!

  37. UgaVic Says:

    OK break is over and we are still on 151.
    They are amending it to allow for more F&G ability to manage the other area rivers.
    There is an objection on the amendment by Mr Jensen to this and he is trying to clarify what is allowed and how it might work.
    He got part of his issues settled. He has an issue on a conflict with the chairman on his possible self interest but that will be addressed if the amendment is passed.
    Mr Brown is getting some clarification.
    OK, subsitute language was allowed.
    Mr Johnstone is speaking to it whether there is a possible conflict with the chairman. He feels that BB drift fishermen might greatly benefit.
    All of this is based on the escapement of one particular river and the chairman is objecting to his objection. He does not feel he will be benefit in any way from the passage of this proposal.
    Mr Morris is also now speaking to the possible conflict for Mr Webster.
    It also sounds like Mr Morris is against the entire proposal, even as it is amended.
    Despite the intention of the proposal to help the local villages it looks like these guys are hung up on adding a fishery for a really small group of people.
    The chairman brought up that he has never fished in this area and in the past of has been allowed to participate in this proposals that he is not involved in.
    Mr Jensen is STILL complaining about the PERCEPTION.
    The vice chairman has allowed for Mr Webster to participate.
    Mr Morris is stating he is not in conflict and going to support his particpation.
    Mr Delong is also stating that we are talking about MR Webster and HIS possible conflict and he supports Mr Webster joining the discussion.
    YIPPEEE – Chairman Webster is allowed to participate

  38. UgaVic Says:

    Now we are onto talking about the actual amended proposal.
    Mr Brown is talking about the actual workings of the amended bill.
    This is where there is MUCH disagreement on how much ACTUAL time these Area M fishermen get to fish this.
    The Area M claim it is only 2 1/2 days a week while the BB fishermen saying they were fishing much more due to the F&G opening it for more than that time.
    A battle of records and what has been submitted by the area biologist and what was omitted from a staff report. Much more this to come, especially IF this fails!!!

  39. UgaVic Says:

    There is a talk and some discussion about where the fish are caught and who’s fish they might contain in which area.
    “Some folks just believe it is just a redistribution of a catch” but it also admitted that there is agreement these fish are not all local.
    This bothers me as they think it is OK to catch them cause right now BB is getting plenty of fish. My concern is IF they get to catch these when we do not have plenty of fish how long does that go on?
    Mr Chairman is saying is agreeing it that they might all be Area M fish BUT one group of fishermen, the set netters, are not geting to catch their own fish.
    Mr Morris not supporting this as he feels it will not really assist anyone and could create more issues with more escapement.
    He only sees the upside is for the subsistence fishermen and they really aren’t hurting in his eyes. As Ann says GRRRRR…
    Mr Webster is trying to get some fine points of the intent of the proposal into the record.
    More discussion on the lack of opportunity to the Nelson Lagood villagers and fishermen.
    This is REALLY a lot of back and forth on this.
    Mr Johnstone is defending this as a much needed for Port Heiden and Nelson Lagoon villages. Go Mr Johnstone –love it when these retired judges can speak logically on an issue :-))
    Now they are asking for the Trooper or law impact side of this. He is talking about his possible concerns which are at this point seem to be reasonable.
    It seems that the enforcement is concentrated on BB area and it is sounding more and more like there is LITTLE to NO enforcement IN at least AREA M. NOT GOOD!!!
    Given the number of boats that fish each area this is not acceptable. To think that a smaller group of boats are going to less likely to abuse the law than a larger group.
    I wonder where else this might be happening.
    This proposal is having a tough fight. Mr Johnstone is now bringing out that the board doesn’t seem to HAVE to consider HOW hard of enforcement MIGHT be considered.
    Love these retired judges, down to the law however he is concerned that if the law where allow it, where these are bound and etc.
    Looks like it is going on due to a lack of answers to all possibilities.
    Mr Jensen is totally against this proposal. He is claiming it was not a new fishery when they did open the outer part of Port Heiden just three years ago. There is much disagreement on this point.
    Looks like more research as to past practices needs to be done.
    Mr Webster is pointing out that three years ago that the new fishing area was set up on NO INFO, despite what Mr Jensen says.
    This gives the board a chance to adjust this to a more supportable fishery and yet stop some of the interception of other river’s fish.
    This is a REAL disagreement on the board of what has happened in the past and what MIGHT happen in the future.
    He sees it as a failsafe system and should passed BUT if the locals do not take advantage of it they will loose the opportunity.
    We will have to deal with possible regulation issues and see if we can get those answered.
    Mr Webster is suggesting that maybe we can throw this to a restructure committee in the hopes.
    ACR is being suggested – if we can get issues dealt with. I guess that means we could get it brought back up in less than the 3 year cycle.

  40. UgaVic Says:

    Mr Johnstone is stating his feeling that this fishery needs adjustments and he feels this will help bring back to the intent.
    They have called for the vote—-

    BUT legal is speaking AGAIN to this :-)
    I know all this is confusing to u – believe me it is NOT easy to follow on my part either !!!
    failed as 3-3

  41. UgaVic Says:

    Watch for more to happen on the above proposal. There is some information we have been privy to but need to run down with the hope we can get it into public record.

  42. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 152— this is another attempt to allow fish that are traveling THROUGH the area versus allowing them to be go unlimted fishing.
    LOTS of objection overall.
    The advisory had a 3-1 support versus against.
    This looks like this will go down quickly.
    Voting —-

  43. UgaVic Says:

    Looks like we will break for lunch until 1:15.

  44. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 153 was withdrawn
    Now on Proposal 154 – this is to reduce drift gear depth of nets and increase the set net for this area

  45. UgaVic Says:

    Sounds like one gear group unhappy with another :-)

  46. UgaVic Says:

    OK – just got a few minutes to look back over my comments today and to Miss Ann–
    Was thinking SERIOUSLY of taking a vacation for a week or two :-) and leave directly from here to HI.
    Was SURE you would be thrilled to watch all my ‘kids’ while I was gone!!!
    Sorry to hear that MIGHT not be true :-)
    Guess I will head home soon.

  47. UgaVic Says:


  48. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 155- was withdrawn

  49. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 156 – has subsituted to include only the Cinder River. they want to change the distance we can take a net down the beach into the river.

  50. UgaVic Says:

    Some discussion about the effects but it looks like it should pass. Pretty straight forward.
    passed 6-0

  51. UgaVic Says:

    Proposal 157- this is a suggestion to change a boundry.
    This appears to be a BS proposal to give them more Area M fishery more usable fishing area.
    A few board members also do not feel this is a ‘housekeeping only’ move and is actually one to gain fishing grounds.
    Mr Jensen is disagreeing. Funny how quickly you can come to recognize someone’s voice when you either agree or disagree strongly with them!!
    Enforcement has no objections.
    This line has been only been in exsistance for three years and it seems to cause these fishermen an issue.
    passed 6-0

  52. UgaVic Says:

    This looks to be done!!!
    A recap on the last week should come within the next few days.
    Thanks for your interest.

  53. UgaVic Says:

    Keeping fingers and toes crossed for passing of this amendment. Also informed Ann that they better be also crossing their fingers and toes!!!!!

  54. Art Says:

    Good blogging, Vic. I wanted to post along with you, but was afraid that I’d miss stuff if I was busy typing. You’re a better multi-tasker than I.

    You’re right about the BOF process being a good one…but sometimes it’s hard to view it that way when the outcome is so, so wrong.

  55. Art Says:

    btw, go Colts!

  56. Bear Woman Says:

    Good job on blogging this Vic!

    The process is good. Few other places have so much opportunity for all persons to participate in the process.

    i know it’s hard to see the Area M issues go the way they do. Nobody likes to mess with precedent! Hopefully with the dna info on fish, it will help the board and fishermen to understand what the problem is, how big it is and give some clues as to how to fix it.

    Enforcement has been an issue for 20 years and more! That’s where you need to urge legislators to give more money to enforcement. fishers usually want to be honest and follow the rules, but if there is a lack of enforcement and one boat goes over the line, quickly others follow becasue no one wants to lose the advantage…. Enforcement needs to be present for these fisheries and in checking to be sure the “lines” are not stepped over!

  57. alaskapi Says:

    Yay Vic!
    Now I have to go back and catch up with the whole day… thank you for doing this!

  58. Art Says:

    Off topic (kind of), but thanks to everyone that has encouraged me to put my name back in for the Board of Fisheries…and thanks to those of you that have already sent letters/messages to the Governor along those same lines. The support is overwhelming, humbling, and of course…very much appreciated.

    Obviously, being on the Board o’ Fish is no easy task, and it’s the kind of place where you can’t always make everyone happy. When you try to find the middle ground, you (sometimes) end up with everyone “kind of” pissed at you. Everyone wants you to be “their guy” on the Board, and if you don’t toe the line, then you’re not “their guy”…and they remember that. I’ve always joked (but it’s true to some degree) that people don’t remember the 9 votes you cast that they agreed with…they remember that 1 vote that they didn’t agree with…and they’ll remember it forever. But, that’s politics, especially fish politics.

    As someone who has already served on the Board, my previous voting record on some issues will certainly be something that makes some people oppose my (re)appointment. However, I think it would be tough for very many people to say that I didn’t listen to all the salient points and approach things with an open mind…even if I didn’t ultimately “vote their way”.

    Thanks Ann and Vic…and thanks to everyone for hearing me out,
    Art Nelson.


    GOOO!!! ART!!! GO!!! MORE POWER TO YOU,… BROTHER. Sorry bout UR house. Pa made me, U No… thas my xscuse me, and I’m STYXXn IT TOO ’em.

  60. Alaska Rainbow Lodge Says:

    I like the openness of this process. It’s fair and accessible. This is how it should be.

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