By Rep. Kyle Johansen & Rep. Bill Thomas
May 17, 2009
We are very concerned with the decision by the Board of Fish (Board) to open the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in Districts 1 and 2 of Registration Area A from June 15 to August 15 (summer season).
In short, we strongly disagree with the way the Board went about approving the opening of the summer season, we are concerned for the health of the resource, and we take seriously any assumption that this action will receive the required funding from the legislature. Unless and until these issues can be sorted out, the summer season should not be opened.
We've talked with concerned citizens who took the time to attend the Board meetings in Petersburg. Many left the meeting after the proposal to open the summer season had been voted down, thinking the issue and the meeting were wrapped up. However, the summer season proposal was brought back up at the last hour and passed.
At the very least, this action
erodes the public's confidence in a fair, open and transparent
We are also very disturbed that the Board can take action which appears to assume legislative appropriation support.
Do you have the funding available to open this fishery at the tail end of FY08? Are you going to have to come to the legislature with a ratification for FY08 and a supplemental for FY09?
We are considering legislation that would require the ADF&G to provide fiscal notes detailing the costs to the state for proposals before the Board. In addition, when any new fishery is created or Board action taken that requires additional state funding, implementation should wait until the Department goes to the legislature and gets approval for the increased funding.
Because of the concerns outlined above, we believe opening of the commercial Dungeness summer season in Districts 1 and 2 should be reconsidered. In the event you are forced to open this fishery we demand the most conservative approach in management be taken to protect the resource.
Representative Kyle Johansen,
Representative Bill Thomas,
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