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Request to prohibit fishing in Marine Terminal Barge Basin will not move forward

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A request asking the Alaska Board of Fisheries to consider prohibiting fishing in the Homer Spit Marine Terminal Barge Basin did not move forward on Monday.

Homer Spit Properties asked the board to consider placing the topic on a future agenda. According to the Kenai Peninsula Parcel Viewer, Homer Spit Properties owns the land surrounding the basin and the basin bottom. It also owns the Heritage RV Park and land to the northeast of the basin.

In its application, Spit Properties argued that the basin is a dangerous place to fish and is not accessible to anglers without trespassing on private property.

But board member Al Cain said while that may be true by land, an Army Corp of Engineers permit for the barge basin states that boats are allowed to fish in the area.

The permits issued for the Homer Spit Marine Terminal barge basin by the Army Corps of Engineers, stipulate that ‘no attempt shall be made by the permittee to forbid the full and free use by the public of all navigable waters at or adjacent to the activity authorized by this permit,'" he said. 

In its agenda request, Spit Properties suggested that they owned the water in the basin. Matt Miller works for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s sport fish division. He agrees with the Army Corp of Engineers permit that the properties do not have the water rights. He also alleged that the company has allowed friends and acquaintances to fish from its land around the basin.

So the private property owner can allow people to fish in there but it does add to the confusion when the public sees people there about what their access rights are,” he said.

The board denied Spit Properties’ request, saying it did not fit the criteria for an agenda item. The board did indicate that Spit Properties could refine its request for consideration at a later date.

In the meantime, Spit Properties will have to find other ways to handle the situation. It’s unclear if the company plans to do so as it declined to comment for this story. 

Renee joined KBBI in 2017 as a general assignment reporter and host. Her work has appeared on such shows as Weekend Edition Saturday, The World, Marketplace and Studio 360. Renee previously interned as a reporter for KPCC in Los Angeles and as a producer for Stateside at Michigan Radio. Her work has earned her numerous press club awards. She holds an M.S. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a B.A. in women's studies from the University of Michigan.
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