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Fisheries access workshop planned in Anchorage

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KDLG News
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How do you keep fishing permits in rural Alaska communities, like those in Bristol Bay? That’s the question folks from around the state will be gathering to discuss in Anchorage January 12 and 13.

A two-day workshop in Anchorage next week will look at ways to get more Alaskans participating in local fisheries.

 Robin Samuelson said the workshop will focus on discussing a wide-range possible solutions, and some of the challenges in enacting them, including questions about allowing elders to lease permits, and how to get younger people interested in fishing.

“Well I think you know there are a lot of issues – dealing with the legality and the regulatory tools, how do we address all them,” he said. “That’s what we’re gonna be doing, is just having a general discussion on the pros and cons of different suggestions.”

Some solutions could take legislative action, and Samuelson said he doesn’t know if that could happen right away. But discussions of permit outmigration have gained more traction in the past year or so, he said, which is one of the reasons for the discussion.

“You look at the original issuance of both set and drift permits, we’ve lost over 50 percent of our permits in Bristol Bay,” he said. “We have communities now that are, there are no permits in the communities. How are these communities going to be sustainable? Fishing is one avenue that could provide employment and income.”

The two-day workshop was organized by the Alaska SeaGrant. Others Dillingham participants include BBEDC’s Norm Van Vactor, Alice Ruby and Robert Heyano.