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June 2021 Update – Call to Action

ATTENTION FISHERMEN AND FRIENDS

Please comment once more!

It is essential that everyone send in comments on the proposed Amendment 14 to the Alaska Salmon Fisheries Management Plan (Salmon FMP) that would close the federal waters in Cook Inlet (the EEZ) to commercial salmon fishing. This Amendment 14, that was put forth in a corrupt process by the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council, has now been sent to the NMFS and Secretary of Commerce for review.

This comment period ends on July 19, please send in your comments as soon as possible. Call the UCIDA office (260-9436) if you need help.

How to Comment – go to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/18/2021-10450/fisheries-of-the-exclusive-economic-zone-off-alaska-cook-inlet-salmon-amendment-14

Click on “Submit a Formal Comment”. Type into the box that opens, or copy-and-paste your comment into the box. Follow the rest of the directions.

You can send in the same or similar comment that many of you did last December when the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council had this issue on their agenda. If you want to recycle your previous comment, please note that what was then “Alternative 4” is now called “proposed Amendment 14” to the Alaska Salmon FMP.

When commenting, identify yourself and your connection to the Cook Inlet commercial salmon fishing industry. Please clearly state that you oppose Amendment 14 to the Alaska Salmon FMP.

Here is some additional information that you may wish to include in your comments.

  • Proposed Amendment 14 does not meet the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) or the Ten National Standards.
  • The MSA requires that fishery management plans apply to the entire fishery, not just a part of a fishery.
  • Closing an area to commercial fishing that has been heavily utilized for nearly a hundred years is not a management plan.
  • Amendment 14 unfairly discriminates against the drift fleet; nearly half of the drift fleets harvest/income comes from the EEZ and it would be far more than half our harvest if we were allowed to fish there throughout the season.
  • Amendment 14 will result in the collapse of the entire commercial fishing industry in Cook Inlet. This fishery was once the second largest salmon fishery in the State, in terms of economic value, now we are having back-to-back disasters because of State of Alaska mismanagement.
  • The local economies have been badly harmed by the State mismanagement, Amendment 14 will perpetuate that harm.
  • Amendment 14 is entirely based on politics, there is no scientific basis for closing the EEZ.
  • National Standard 1 calls for achieving Optimum Yield (OY) from each fishery, to achieve OY on a continuing basis, stocks must be managed on the basis of Maximum Sustainable Yield or MSY. This requires that salmon escapement goals be set at a level that will produce MSY over the long term. There is only 1 escapement goal (Kasilof River sockeye) in Cook Inlet that is set near MSY. There is not a single stock of salmon in Cook Inlet that is being managed on the basis of MSY.
  • Amendment 14 ignores the fact that most of the coho, pink and chum salmon go unharvested. Pink salmon are the largest stock of salmon that enter Cook Inlet, some years exceeding 20 million fish, and our harvest rate is about 2% instead of the 53% that ADFG says is the MSY exploitation rate.

April 2021 Update

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council had a meeting in early April with one agenda item related to the Cook Inlet Fishery Management Plan. Here is an update on that for members and friends:

UCIDA Legal Update April, 2021

We had a brief window of time in which to comment on that agenda item prior to the meeting. Here are the comments provided to the Council by UCIDA, CIFF and ASA:

UCIDA Comment to Council April 2021

CIFF Comment to Council April 2021

ASA Comment to Council April 2021

For those who are interested, we compiled most of the comments sent to the Council last December regarding the sudden appearance of Alternative 4:

Public Comments to Council re: Alternative 4, December 2020

Local Governments react to NPFMC’s decision to close the EEZ

Last week the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and the Kenai City Council passed resolutions asking the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to veto the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s recommendation of Alternative 4 (closing the EEZ). Both resolutions cited the harm Alternative 4 would inflict on the historic commercial salmon fishery in Cook Inlet and on the local economies.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Resolution 2021-018

City of Kenai Resolution No. 2021-13

March Update

Cook Inlet Salmon Legal Update March, 2021

UCIDA’s compilation of Federal Actions related to Alaska Salmon, Feb. 2021.

Salmon in Alaska and Federal Actions

February 2021 Update

Update for members and friends on various current issues.

January 2021 Update for Members and Friends

Update on status of North Pacific Fishery Council decision made on December 7, 2020

UFA 2020 Edition Commercial Fishing Facts

UFA 2020 Edition Commercial Fishing Facts January, 2020, United Fishermen of Alaska released its updated Fish Facts for every region of Alaska, plus the West Coast. The facts are updated through 2018, the most complete year available.

Reactions to North Pacific Fisheries Management Council action on Dec. 7, 2020

Alaska Journal of Commerce 12/9/20 OPINION: State forces council to close Cook Inlet for business

Alaska Journal of Commerce 12/9/20    North Pacific council votes to close Cook Inlet federal waters to salmon

Anchorage Daily News 12/8/20   Fisheries council shuts down commercial salmon fishing in Cook Inlet federal waters

December 7, 2020 5pm The North Pacific Fishery Council Meeting just ended.

The fix was in. More than 240 written comments opposed Alternative 4. Thirty-four oral testimonies today strongly opposed Alternative 4, including Borough and City governments, for economic reasons.

Immediately after today’s comments, Council member and ADF&G Deputy Commissioner Rachel Baker presented the motion to approve Alternative 4 and then filibustered for almost an hour with her pre-prepared arguments for destroying the UCI commercial fishing industry. [Some listeners commented that her statement must have taken the state administration and the Alaska Board of Fish at least 2 weeks to compose.]

Baker’s primary argument was that the State of Alaska refuses to accept oversight by the federal government in their management of Cook Inlet salmon so there was no point in doing anything other than closing the EEZ. Ms. Baker also said, many, many times, that the extra costs of managing the Cook Inlet fishery would be just too unreasonable if they had to work with the federal government.  In other words, a few additional management expenses would not be worth preserving an historic, valuable commercial fishery and all of the communities that depend on commercial fishing.

Other council members did plenty of breast-beating and claims of heartbreak but they all voted for Alternative 4, except for Dr. Balsiger, who abstained. A couple of council members made spurious remarks about how they wouldn’t have had to take such a drastic approach if they weren’t under a court-ordered deadline. These are the same members who have been obstructing the development of a workable FMP for over three years.

The Dunleavy Administration orchestrated this as payback to Bob Penney for campaign contributions. Thanks Governor!

This ruling has to spend another year working its way through the National Marine Fisheries Service before it will be enacted. The EEZ should not be closed this coming season.

Thank you members and friends!

Two hundred and twenty-three individuals, organizations and municipalities sent in written comments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council objecting to their last minute “Alternative 4” option for a Cook Inlet Fishery Management Plan that would simply close the federal waters in Cook Inlet to commercial salmon fishing.

One (1) comment was posted in support of Alternative 4. Not surprisingly, that comment is from the Kenai River Sportfishing Association that, under Bob Penney’s command, has been striving to eliminate commercial fishing in Cook Inlet for over 30 years.

KTUU article 12/2/20   Cook Inlet fishermen, processors brace for big changes to salmon fishery management

DermotCole.com 11/30/20  Bob Penney moves closer to big return on Dunleavy investment

Seafood News.Com 11/30/20    Cook Inlet Fishermen, Communities Call New Alternative Salmon Plan “Appalling”, “Ludicrous


43961 K-Beach Road, Suite E
Soldotna, Alaska
(907) 260-9436

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