Gillnetters angry over funding cut

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2008

It is my unfortunate duty to inform my fellow gillnetters, that the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association Board of Directors at our March meeting cut funding from the fiscal year 2009 budget for our Boat Harbor and Limestone Inlet chum projects. The vote was 11 to 9, with all the troll and seine reps and two non-gear reps voting against us.

The project was already budgeted then removed by a motion to amend the budget by troll rep Richie Davis.

Funding for Boat Harbor/Limestone was not an agenda item, and this motion, tied to increased funding for the Deer Lake Coho project, was engineered by the troll and seine reps in collusion and sprung on the board with no warning. The trollers were rewarded for their collusion, with an expanded project, and the seiners have never supported NSRAA funding for Boat Harbor/Limestone.

Following the acrimonious debate and odious outcome of this motion, fellow gillnet rep Cheyne Blough and myself walked out of the meeting in protest.

Douglas Island Pink and Chum already handles half of the funding and all of the logistics for these projects and they are still fully funded for this year.

I have every confidence that DIPAC will carry the ball on these projects alone if necessary. I have talked to DIPAC rep and United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association Vice President Norm Hughes in this regard, and state Rep. Bill Thomas is abreast of the issue, and as usual will work in our behalf if a political solution is needed.

NSRAA's '09 budget now allocates less than 1 percent for projects off Baranof Island.

Mike Saunders

President, Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association

Haines



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