A joint committee of the Alaska Board of Fish met in Homer on Tuesday and moved to draft a letter asking lawmakers to make more specific rules and protections for salmon by strengthening laws governing permits for those wishing to disturb salmon streams and habitat.
Critics of the current fish habitat permitting laws say while Alaska Fish and Game staff do as good a job as possible given limited resources. But they say the current laws are thin and ill-equipped to allow state officials to turn down applications, especially for large-scale projects like the proposed Pebble mine or the proposed Chuitna coal project. They were also critical of the lack of public notice of proposed development or disturbance to salmon streams.
“What we did 50 years ago is not going to work today. The world has changed phenomenally,” said Ric Halford. “As an old redneck, I think we have got to the point where we need some real beef in our permitting process.”