Official AFCA Press Release
Fisheries Conservation Group Submits Ballot Initiative Application to End Set Nets in Urban, Non-Subsistence Areas of Alaska
Recently formed Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, Inc. delivers necessary signatures to office of Lieutenant Governor
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance, Inc. (AFCA) will present the Office of Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell a ballot initiative application that would ban commercial set net fishing in the five urban, non-subsistence areas of Alaska. The division of elections received the necessary signatures today.
AFCA was formed to protect fish species in non-subsistence areas of Alaska that are threatened by over-fishing, bycatch or other dangers. AFCA will launch a campaign to seek voter approval of an initiative banning urban commercial fishing with set nets. AFCA will get the necessary signatures and approvals to have the commercial set net ban on the primary election ballot in August of 2016. This allows for more than two years of debate on the issue.
The five state-designated, non-subsistence areas are most of the areas immediately around Anchorage (including the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Matanuska Susitna Borough), Fairbanks, Juneau, Valdez and Ketchikan (see map). If voters approve the initiative, commercial set nets in these areas would be banned. Personal use fishing, such as dip net fishing, will not be affected.
This ballot measure will not affect set nets in the 90 percent of the state that is designated a subsistence or rural area. Set nets are less intrusive and a reasonable means of fishing in low population areas, however, AFCA believes it is time that set nets are banned in the urban, highly populated centers of Alaska. AFCA will be reaching out to other like-minded organizations to join its cause.
Former set-netter and retired University of Alaska Anchorage Professor Joe Connors is the President of AFCA. Connors owns a sport fish guiding business on the Kenai River. “AFCA is all about conservation and we are attracting members from across the state who share our commitment to protecting urban fisheries that are threatened. There is no debating that king salmon stocks in Cook Inlet are at historic lows. Set nets are indiscriminate killing machines and it is time they are banned in urban areas of Alaska.”
Longtime fisheries advocate Bob Penney will serve on the AFCA Board as well. “It’s time to join the other states that have led the way in banning the 'all killing' set nets. Bycatch in our fisheries should be a four-letter word; it must be stopped. Conservation for all species must come first,” Penney said.
Texas, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, New York and California have all banned set nets. Washington and Oregon have severely restricted commercial set nets. In the 25 years since the first state took this step, no set nets have been allowed to return. Not one fish processor in these states went out of business after set nets were banned.
Mellinger, a one time set net crewmember and former Alaska Native Corporation
CFO, who is now the Principal of V3 Strategic Solutions, will also serve on the
board. “This was a difficult decision for me. However the fact that it will
protect subsistence fishing helped guide my decision,” Mellinger said.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance mission:
“to conserve fisheries in urban areas of Alaska for all its citizens.”
For more information contact:
Charles Fedullo - (907) 388-8055
Joe Connors - (907) 398-1360