Assembly, councils ask fish board to meet on peninsula

Local government bodies on the central Kenai Peninsula really want the state Board of Fisheries to hold a meeting here.

The board, which meets to discuss Upper Cook Inlet management area fisheries issues once every three years, is a major confluence of sport, commercial, subsistence and personal-use fishermen alike. Most people on the Kenai Peninsula participate in one fishery or another, many making a livelihood at least partially based on fisheries.

The board usually rotates its meeting locations for its various fisheries, but for Upper Cook Inlet, the board hasn’t held a full meeting on the central Kenai Peninsula since 1999. Part of the argument was that it was too expensive to hold a meeting away from Anchorage, where most of the staff lives and where there is more meeting space; another part dates back to the 1999 meeting, when some board members said they felt threatened by attendees’ behavior.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly passed a resolution on Tuesday asking the board to hold its 2020 meeting on the central peninsula. The resolution, sponsored by Borough Mayor Mike Navarre and assembly members Dale Bagley and Willy Dunne, notes that the board will consider the location for its next Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting at an upcoming worksession held Oct. 17–19.

“The management and health of Upper Cook Inlet finfish has a major impact on residents and visitors to the Kenai Peninsula,” the memo states. “Attending these meetings in Anchorage can be cost prohibitive to many people from the Kenai Peninsula, regardless of how they participate in the fishery.”

The cities of Soldotna and Kenai passed similar resolutions at their most recent city council meetings. They’ve all passed similar resolutions in the past and banded together in 2015 with offers of free meeting space, transportation and coffee to entice the board to meet on the central peninsula. However, the board rejected the offer, having already set its 2017 meeting for Anchorage and saying the offer of free space, transportation and coffee muddied the process for deciding a meeting location.

In October 2016, the board held a worksession in Soldotna for three days, which went peacefully and was well attended by local stakeholders and government officials. During the meeting, multiple speakers said they hoped the board would decide to come back in 2020.

The meeting location is in part political. Upper Cook Inlet finfish meetings, which largely deal with salmon allocation, are notoriously conflict-ridden and can run for two weeks. In the past, the board members have chosen Anchorage to host a meeting because it is a “neutral” location where no fishery directly occurs, but stakeholders in both the Matanuska-Susitna Valley and on the Kenai Peninsula have said they want a meeting in their communities.

The Board of Fisheries is scheduled to discuss the location for its 2020 Upper Cook Inlet meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 17. For those unable to attend, the meetings are streamed online on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Velda Geller fills goodie bags at the Kenai Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 for next weekend’s drive-through trick-or-treat event. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘This has been a lifesaver’

Seniors seek human connection as pandemic continues.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A very slippery slope that we need to be careful of’

Approval of library grant postponed after Kenai council requests to preview book purchases

This undated photo released by the Alaska State Department of Public Safety shows Robin Pelkey just before her 18th birthday. The remains of a woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of 17 victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, have been identified through DNA profiling as Robin Pelkey, authorities said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Alaska State Department of Public Safety via AP)
DNA match IDs serial killer’s victim after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, investigators said.

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Most Read