Kodiak puts hold on fisheries analyst services

Kodiak downtown area. (Photo by
Raymond Bucko, SJ / Flickr)

Kodiak may be without a fisheries analyst for a while.

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That’s according to Kodiak City Councilman John Whiddon, one of the two city representatives who attended what was scheduled to be a meeting of the city and borough’s joint Fisheries Work Group on Wednesday.

Without a quorum, the meeting became more of an informational session instead, and one piece of information they shared was the end of fisheries analyst Heather McCarty’s contract.

The analyst in the past has provided representation for Kodiak on the regulatory side of fisheries and helped interpret that part of the fisheries world.

During public comment, fisherman Alexus Kwachka said it’s a bad time for Kodiak to lose someone to fill that role.

“We’re gonna have a constant battle of push and pull of what people’s needs are in the state. Southeast needs king salmon,” Kwachka said. “Western gulf’s talking about going into a bottom fishery to kind of replace the lack of [Pacific cod]. That gonna mean more interaction with king salmon. There’s just gonna be a constant struggle going on.”

City councilman Whiddon described the end of the contract as more of a hiatus than anything else.

“I fully agree we need somebody to guide us through this, and I don’t foresee this vacancy being a long-term thing. Our budget will be done by May,” Whiddon said. “I think the borough’s probably the same time frame. Something like that. So, it comes right down right now to just looking at really, really difficult decisions to how we allocate very, very limited resources.”

The city and borough have contracted with fisheries analyst Heather McCarty for the last four years. She attended the fisheries work group meeting yesterday, and it’ll be her last one until further notice.

Kodiak Island Borough Assemblymen Scott Smiley and Andy Schroeder were both absent.