Laine Welch: Price of salmon permits soars; Treadwell talks fish

Laine Welch

The value of Alaska salmon permits are soaring in many fisheries. At Bristol Bay, drift gillnet permits are being offered for $140,000, compared to $90,000 at the same time last year.

A scan of listings by four brokers shows that Prince William Sound seine cards are more than $200,000; they were about $140,000 a year ago. Sound driftnet permits also are selling at more than $200,000.

Cook Inlet drift permits are being offered at $85,000 or higher, which is $10,000 more than a year ago. Cook Inlet seine cards are listed for $65,000, and setnets at $16,000.

Southeast Alaska seine permits are the priciest at $320,000, up from $250,000 last January. Kodiak seine values continued an upward creep to $50,000, compared to $36,000 on average.

Chignik permits are listed around $225,000.

At Area M on the Alaska Peninsula, drift cards were $90,000 and seine cards $65,000, which is down slightly.

Board to consider Cook Inlet

Cook Inlet will be the focus of the Board of Fish when it takes up 235 proposals at its meeting later this month. Fishery managers have provided a list of Frequently Asked Questions about managing king salmon on the Kenai River in advance of the meeting.

The FAQ uses the 2013 season to explain escapement policies, how salmon are counted, king salmon research and more. The Fish Board meets Jan. 31 through Feb. 13 at the Egan Center in Anchorage. All sessions will be webcast.

Find a link to the FAQ at

Treadwell talks fish

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, campaigning for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, says he has the chops to make sure that good science drives all fisheries decisions.

Treadwell hopes to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Begich in November, but first he has to beat former state natural resources commissioner Dan Sullivan and tea party favorite Joe Miller in the August Republican primary.

Treadwell recently visited Kodiak and "talked fish" in a brief interview.

Few Alaska office holders can claim Treadwell's experience with and understanding of the Arctic.

He said he "doesn't expect any major fisheries (in the Arctic) anytime soon."

He called ocean acidification one of the "most pressing effects" of climate change, and "one of the toughest things to adapt to." The solutions, he said, lie in technological innovation.

"I have always supported trying to make our energy cleaner," he said, pointing to potential CO2 "sequestration" technology and use of hydrogen vehicles. ". . . We can and must be a proving ground for some of these new technologies."

Treadwell described himself as a longtime "tireless advocate for our oceans."

"But you are not going to find me, as a responsible official from a state known for three things: cold, dark, distance -- and where people are already paying too much for energy -- trying to raise their energy prices," he said.

Treadwell has played a leading role in the launch of nearly every Alaska research center from Ketchikan to Barrow. He is a past director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, served as Cordova's director of oil spill response after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and was a founder of the Prince William Sound Science Center.

On the fisheries side, Treadwell said his entire career has focused on "commons management" of resources, starting with his first job in Alaska interning for Wally Hickel when Hickel unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1974. Treadwell helped Hickel pen his position on the 200-mile limit, and later wrote his graduate thesis at Yale on the limit's history back to 1937.

"I also am no stranger to the senior fisheries managers in this country, " he said.

Laine Welch is a Kodiak-based fisheries journalist. Contact her at

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