Commissioner Sam Cotten headlines ComFish
April 1, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Talking fish with Commissioner Sam Cotten as he heads to Kodiak. More after this –
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The 36th annual ComFish trade show kicks off this week in Kodiak. New Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten will headline an open meeting Thursday afternoon –
“This will be my first trip to Kodiak as Commissioner so it’s going to be exciting and Kodiak is a pretty big deal when it comes to fishing and you’ve got ComFish going. So it’s a good chance to be accessible.”
Joining Cotten is Jeff Regnart, Director of the Commercial Fisheries Division, Kodiak Representative Louise Stutes and Lt. Governor Byron Mallott. Commissioner Cotten says one focus will be the new program being crafted for local trawl fisheries.
“And I know a lot of people lin Kodiak are interested in the issue described as trawl bycatch management so I’ll be prepared to talk about that some.”
Halibut bycatch in the Bering Sea also is set for changes.
“We’ve had some real difficulties with bycatch issues in the Bering Sea that resulted in the directed fishermen get almost nothing and all the halibut used as bycatch. We’ll be monitoring that very closely.”
Cotten touched on some other challenges –
“I think overall the fishing industry in Alaska is healthy; there are a lot of good things. Some downsides – some challenges with Chinook salmon and so we’re trying to advance the research that’s been started to better understand that issue and see if there is something we can do about it. Cook Inlet is always going to be faced with some challenges as far as management with the resource and the competing user groups. That’s not news.”
A major concern is the $15 million Alaska lawmakers are proposing for the Dept. of Fish and Game, with commercial fisheries taking the biggest hit.
With our budget reductions we’re hoping to still do an outstanding job managing our fishery resources in spite of reduced resources. And I tell you, when I was doing fishing actively it was frustrating to talk to an area biologist and have him tell you that just didn’t have the resources to go look at a stream or to do a proper assessment, and therefore he had to say it was closed.”
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.