Last Tuesday, we started the day by hearing a presentation from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) on forgone harvest. There are some rivers in Alaska where salmon escapement significantly exceeds even the maximum goals set by ADF&G. These fish are unutilized commercial, recreational, and subsistence resources. ADF&G Commercial Fisheries Division Director Jeff Regnart discussed methods and actions being taken to more completely use the potential of these fisheries. I was concerned about any statutes that may be restricting the ADF&G ability to better manage these runs, and if there was anything else the legislature could do to help. ADF&G stated that they believe their current authority and funding levels are sufficient to address the issue.
I will introduce two new pieces of legislation in the House later today, Monday. One would require the use of barbless hooks in catch-and-release freshwater fisheries to reduce fish mortality while providing additional sport fishing opportunities, and the other would rename Bridge 607 (Kasilof River bridge) to the Michael G. Wiley Bridge in recognition and memory of his contributions to Kasilof and the Kenai Peninsula.