The Board of Fisheries adopted an action plan aimed at getting more sockeye salmon to the Matanuska Valley. The Susitna Sockeye Salmon Action Plan addresses concerns about low sockeye returns in the valley.
"We're being restricted to put more fish in the river, so that people can play with them," said longtime commercial fishermen David Martin.
Part of the plan restricts driftnet commercial fishing in Upper Cook Inlet. During the sockeye run in the middle of July, commercial fishing vessels will be moved to a different area near the Kasilof River.
"We're basically neutering it for no reason at all," Martin said. "We're going to be losing tens of millions of dollars."
During the debate, members of the Board of Fisheries said the new plan would have a minimal impact on commercial fishing. Sport fishermen applaud the board's effort.
"This board seems to be very interested in addressing these stock conservation problems. At the same time they do seem to be very interested in minimizing the impact to these important commercial fishing industries," said Mac Manard, a member of the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Sportsmen's Committee.
The Board still needs to comb through hundreds of proposals. The new rules and regulations adopted at this meeting will go into effect this year, and last for the next three years. The Board of Fisheries runs through this Saturday.