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Fish board adopts new erosion criteria

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KDLG News
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The state fish board has a new policy to help when tasked with considering changes to commercial setnet sites after erosion takes its toll.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries has adopted a set of six criteria for situations where erosion has taken a toll on commercial set net sites, and fishermen are looking to the board for a solution.

The new criteria direct the board to consider whether erosion or accretion is at play, whether the proposal describes historical use of the site, any positive or negative effects to adjaicent or nearby sites, whether the proposal will increase the number of sites legally fished, and whether the site conforms to state statutes. It also directs the board to refer to existing allocation criteria if the fix could have allocative impacts.

The issue first arose at the Bristol Bay finfish meeting in December, when the board tabled two proposals that sought adjustments to setnet boundaries because of changes caused by erosion. One was at Clark’s Point, the other at Graveyard Point. At that time, the board said it would likely see more proposals for boundaries around the state affected by environmental change, and wanted a comprehensive way to approach them.

At the board’s Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Island and Chignik finfish meeting in February, it adopted the new criteria, creating a framework for how it will handle those issues in the future.

The board also emphasized that the criteria will be reviewed, but a proposal doesn’t necessarily have to meet all of them, and could incorporate other issues with a proposal.

Now that the board has criteria to consider as it addresses such proposals, the two tabled in December will be back up for consideration at the board’s statewide meeting, which is scheduled to begin March 8 in Anchorage.

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