A press release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued Monday said there are major changes in boundaries in the vicinity of Uyak Bay on the west side of Kodiak Island, along with other minor changes around the rest of the island.
Both Austerman and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have stressed the need for commercial fishermen to check with NMFS enforcement, 486-3298, on any question about the boundaries of their fishing grounds.
Brent Cathey, co-owner of the fishing vessel Sumner Strait, said he has 60 pots in the water near Uganik Bay on the west side of Kodiak. When he set the gear at the end of the federal season he thought it was legal. Now he estimates he will have to move 25 pots off fishing grounds he has used the past 13 years.
Cathey estimated that near the mouth of Uyak Bay another three or four boats have been displaced because the new three-mile boundary juts in further there.
Cathey’s biggest concern is how secretive the process seems to have been. Others involved in Kodiak’s fishing industry agreed.
“You don’t just change laws that affect our livelihood without a little planning or giving us a chance to voice our objections,” said Thor Olsen, captain and owner of the fishing vessel Viking Star. “We’re getting kicked out of our fishing grounds. We’ve fished there since we were kids.
“This is a blow to smaller boats, local boats. This is a blow to us.”