Soldotna– Kenai River Sportfishing Association is hosting its annual Kenai Classic Roundtable on Fisheries on August 23, 2023 from 12pm-3pm at the Soldotna Sports Center featuring keynote speaker Alaska Representative Mary Peltola with panelists from key research, community, industry, and policy stakeholders; Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy will make closing remarks. The Roundtable moderator is Marc Gorelnik, Chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council and General Counsel to the American Sportfishing Association.
- Dow Rivers are Life-Kings of the Kenai
The first public showing of the short film Rivers are Life- Kings of the Kenai produced by Dow featuring the conservation work of Kenai River Sportfishing Association. Over the years KRSA has grown and developed numerous conservation and sustainability projects to support the health of this one-of-a-kind waterway, several of which are explored and celebrated in this film.
- Recreational Fisheries and Offshore Energy Development: Emerging issues along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
Offshore energy development is a much-hyped solution to future energy needs and generation. As this energy format has gained traction, what issues have emerged? Have there been unintended consequences? What are the impacts to area fisheries? Is there continued public access?
- IIJA, ISA, and CDS: How the alphabet soup of new federal funding opportunities for angler access and habitat restoration projects can foster partnerships and improve fisheries.
There are a wealth of funding opportunities for conservation and sport fishing access but it can be challenging to know where to begin. How can partnerships improve projects and grant applications? This session will focus on funding within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and Congressionally Directed Spending.
Andrew Lipsky, Offshore Wind Science Lead, NOAA
With over 25 years of fisheries experience, Lipsky has worked at the NGO, private industry, State, Tribal, and Federal levels. Lipsky joined NOAA and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center in 2016 and now serves as the Center’s Offshore Wind Team Lead. He has overseen the Center’s growing offshore wind science program meeting the scientific needs of the regulatory process, developing a federal survey mitigation program, and advancing research on the interactions of offshore wind on NMFS trust resources. He currently co-chairs the International Council on the Exploration of the Sea’s Fisheries and Offshore Wind Working Group composed of scientists focused on offshore and fisheries research in the North Sea, Baltic, Mediterranean, and the Atlantic.
Mike Waine, Atlantic Fisheries Policy Director, American Sportfishing Association
Waine began his career as a research associate, managing an environmental risk assessment for exploratory wind farm locations in North Carolina. He then spent five years working for the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission where he coordinated the development of fishery management plans for many high-profile Atlantic species. Waine previously worked as an analyst with NOAA Fisheries where he was involved in rulemaking on bycatch reporting and helped head a new initiative on ecosystem-based fishery management.
Steve Cohn, Alaska Director of Bureau of Land Management
As BLM’s Alaska State Director, Cohn is responsible for overseeing the management of 70 million surface acres and 220 million acres of Federal sub-surface mineral estate. He oversees 650 permanent staff and approximately 200 seasonal employees who help manage a myriad of public land uses and resources to include the Federal Subsistence Management Program, the Alaska Land Transfer Program, the National Petroleum Reserve and oversight of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline System.
Established in 1984, Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) is Alaska’s leading fishery conservation organization. KRSA’s mission is to “ensure the sustainability of the greatest sportfishing river in the world – the Kenai. KRSA’s area of responsibility encompasses the Kenai River watershed, greater Cook Inlet Basin and Alaska.” Located in Soldotna, Alaska, KRSA is a 501 (c) 3 charitable non-profit, with a dedicated team, a committed board of directors, and a core of passionate volunteers, members, and supporters.
With the generous support from sponsors and donors, KRSA has raised and leveraged millions of dollars that have helped restore sensitive fish habitat, provided responsible angler access, advocated for meaningful sport and personal use fishing opportunities for local food security and enhanced socio-economic values, advanced information through research on fish, habitat, and economics for management of sustainable fisheries, and educated the public, anglers, and youth on stewardship of fishery resources.
A significant portion of KRSA’s fundraising efforts have included the Kenai River Classic fishing events. The Roundtable has become a key element of the Classic focusing on a breadth of fishery, environmental, and conservation topics featuring nationally-recognized field and topical experts.
Attached is the 2023 Roundtable’s schedule of topics. This event will also be livestreamed on KRSA’s Youtube channel (@KenaiRiverSportfish).