For On-Bottom Aquaculture in Kachemak Bay
October 28, 2004
The Commissioner's decision comes after ADF&G held a public hearing and several public meetings on the issue, and extended the public comment period, which ended on September 15. In both oral and written testimony, a very substantial majority of the public comments expressed opposition to the proposed regulatory changes.
"After reviewing the public testimony, traveling to Homer to meet with the organizations opposed to our proposal, and speaking to local legislators, I am confident that I made the right decision," said Commissioner Duffy. "I appreciate the public's input on this and other important matters. The fish and wildlife resources belong to Alaskans, and as stewards of those public resources ADF&G is accountable to the people."
In recent months, the City of Homer, City of Seldovia, Seldovia Native Association, and Seldovia Village Tribe have passed resolutions opposing ADF&G's proposed regulatory changes. The resolutions cited concerns ranging from unintended effects on public use/access to potential environmental harm. The same concerns were echoed in the public's oral and written testimony, over 90% of which opposed lifting the ban.
"My decision should not be viewed as a setback for the mariculture industry," said Commissioner Duffy. "This Administration and my department in particular, are committed to developing Alaska's mariculture industry. For example, we have provided numerous farming opportunities with over 150 farm sites available around the state and in the Homer area, that do not raise the conflicts presented by on-bottom aquaculture in the Kachemak Bay Critical Habitat Area. In addition, this administration has made significant investments in the shellfish farming industry by providing over $1 million for aquaculture through the Alaska Fishery Revitalization Strategy.
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