Cook Inlet

In Cook Inlet salmon runs, increasing fish for one purpose means taking them away from another. On Tuesday, the Alaska Board of Fisheries passed a proposal intended to get more salmon into upper Cook Inlet streams, by restricting the commercial Central District drift fishery. 

The “conservation corridor” will be expanded, pushing the central drift fleet closer to shore to let more north-bound silver and sockeye salmon get to rivers in the Susitna drainage. 

“The highest user is the drift fleet, so, you know, we need to make up a little bit there and, unfortunately, I feel the highest user needs to come up with the change, I guess,” said Board member Fritz Johnson, from Dillingham.

Proposal 133 came from the Mat-Su Borough Fish and Wildlife Commission. That borough is stepping up advocacy for more fish allocation to Mat-Su streams, citing an economic analysis that sportfishing revenue has declined $150 million from 2007 to 2017. Board member John Wood, of Willow, championed that cause.

“I sit here and listen day after day after day about overescapement here and overescapement there. Please, someone show me in the entire Susitna basin where we have an overescapement issue. We don’t,” Wood said. “We’re just the opposite. If you want your most effective tool to minimize the northern-bound fish, this is it. If you want to help the Susitna rehabilitate those streams, this is the tool to do so." 

The big news from Hilcorp these days is its $5.6 billion bid to buy BP out of Alaska, but not all its focus is on the North Slope. Cook Inlet still plays a role in Hilcorp’s footprint in Alaska.

“We have 537 fulltime Hilcorp employees. Ninety percent of them live here in Alaska and over half of them live on the Kenai Peninsula. We have found the Kenai Peninsula workforce to be a wonderfully experienced, creative, energetic workforce to do what we do every day and we will in the future continue to tap into the Kenai Peninsula workforce,” said Dave Wilkins, senior vice president of Hilcorp Alaska, speaking at the 2020 Economic Outlook Forum in Seward earlier this month.


Board of Fisheries to look at mariculture questions

Dec 3, 2019


When the state Board of Fisheries meets in Seward next week, it will have plenty of fishing issues to deal with. But not every proposal has to do with fishing, or even fish. A pair of proposals are focused on aquatic plants.

ECON 919 - A changing Cook Inlet natural gas market

Aug 2, 2019


The latest LNG project proposed on the Kenai is the Kenai Cool Down Project. It’s currently going through the federal review process and a public comment period is now open for the environmental review.




Cook Inlet Keeper


Environmental groups are protesting the state’s move to renew a federal permit that allows oil and gas producers to release a variety of pollutants into Cook Inlet.

This is the first time the state has issued the permit. Environmental groups say the state should move the oil and gas industry away from the practice, and those groups are also pushing back against the state raising the volume of oily wastewater producers are allowed to discharge.