The city of Kodiak addressed a contentious issue that's dividing many in the fishing community.
At issue are proposed closures off the east of Kodiak
Island that could prohibit trawling groundfish in some areas to
conserve Tanner crab populations.
The city council
heard competing arguments from trawlers and crab fishermen who offered
conflicting accounts over whether trawling for groundfish is hurting Tanner
Last week a group
of trawlers brought the issue to the city council, which agreed to schedule
Wednesday's special meeting so it could weigh-in in time for next month's North
Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage.
But the fishing
community didn't speak with one voice.
And crab fishermen like Stosh Anderson told
the city council that drastic measures are necessary.
(fishing1) :21 "I think the ... rebounding stocks."
At last year's
meeting a series of disturbing photos were offered by a former deckhand that
showed hundreds of Tanner crabs killed as bycatch.
argued that the photos were not representative of the whole fleet. And Chandler
Johnson, skipper of the fishing vessel Walter N said the impacts on Tanner crab
populations are overstated.
(fishing2) :23 "Millions of
pounds ... with good fishing."
More than two
dozen people spoke with the crowd almost evenly divided for and against.
Terry Haines, a commercial fisherman himself, suggested the city defer to the
North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
(fishing3) :22 "I really don't ...
do their work."
Walters said he agreed that the city shouldn't second guess the fishery
council. He suggested the city draft a letter urging the fishery council to proceed
carefully because of the economic impact on Kodiak's trawl fleet.
(fishing4) :16 "If indeed they ... that's what I would say."
two hours of testimony and deliberations, the city council unanimously voted to
draft its letter. It will urge the fishery council to take into account
economic impacts of any actions. They city also endorses federal funding for
expanded on-deck observer programs. The letter will be hand-delivered next
Whiddon was absent from the meeting.