St Jago High School’s coach Glen Laing and his players are determined to emerge one of the top teams in this year’s schoolboy football competitions and so far they have done a very good job.The Spanish Town-based school finished as the best runner-up in their first-round Manning Cup group and qualified for both the lucrative FLOW Super Cup and Walker Cup competitions.But despite their good showing in the preliminary round, the second round is where Laing really wants them to make their mark and he believes he has the players, although he has one in particular that he looks to for goals.Shaqon Bryan netted the opening goal seven minutes into St Jago’s surprise 2-0 win over North Street-based Kingston College in the Walker Cup knockout quarter-finals last Friday at the Constant Spring Complex, taking his tally to nine for the season.Today, St Jago face the blue side of North Street, when they tackle St George’s College in the Walker Cup semi-final this afternoon at Constant Spring, and the speedy striker is aiming for more goals. He also knows there is no better way to announce their arrival to the big time than with a win over the mighty George’s.”The aim is always to win, and I always aim for more (goals),” Bryan told The Gleaner.”We are trying to put St Jago on the map and we are doing that … . The team has grown a lot, because at the start of the season, we didn’t have a few players, but we got them back and the team started working, and now all is well,” he added.The player and the team also have huge confidence in their coach, even though Bryan didn’t agree with his part-time substitution role in the first round, he wants to live up to the mantle the coach has handed him in their whole objective.”We are not finishing a lot of the chances we create, but we are getting there. It’s work in-progress. The coach has been telling me that I have the team on my back and that I should carry them forward. I hope to do that as best as possible,” he said.
Seiners in Starrigavan Bay during the first opening of Sitka’s 2014 sac roe herring fishery. (Photo by Rachel Waldholz/KCAW)Because of Alaska’s budget crisis, state agencies cut spending this year and are planning additional reductions in the next few years.For the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, those cuts have meant less monitoring of fish runs, a change that will lead to more conservative management and less fishing opportunity.That was the message from Fish and Game officials to a commercial fishing industry organization that met in Petersburg in late October.ADFG commissioner Sam Cotten told the board members of the United Fishermen of Alaska at its fall meeting in Petersburg that the department is looking at several years of budget reductions.“Last year I think we took an 18 percent cut and the governor’s asking for another 10,” Cotten said. “And the legislature’s not going to be satisfied with that. So it isn’t a matter of whether our budget’s going to get cut it’s a matter of how much. But we would like your help on the where part.”The department’s total spending this year is over 208 million dollars, with 65 million of that coming from the state’s general fund. More than half of that general fund money goes to programs in the commercial fisheries division. That general fund portion was cut from 80 million dollars the year before.In Southeast, programs that were reduced or eliminated were red king crab research, salmon aerial surveys, herring management and studies, port sampling and several weirs for counting salmon. Other cuts were made to sockeye salmon stock assessment and rockfish surveys.Elsewhere in Alaska, the cuts were made to herring monitoring and sampling, fish counting sonar, habitat mapping, aerial surveys, weirs and salmon counting towers.Deputy Commissioner Kevin Brooks said the department has looked to cut out time on the shoulder season, the beginning and end of salmon runs, for monitoring equipment or programs. “So the first thing we’re gonna do is we’re cutting back on the shoulders,” Brooks said. “If we had a weir we might go back to a tower or doing an aerial survey, something that’s less expensive and less precise, or shortening the time a weir might be in the water. But at some point we can’t just take incremental cuts we have to eliminate a project.”Weirs, towers, sonar, aerial surveys and sampling are all tools managers use to count fish and determine the strength and timing of returns. That information is used to decide how long and where commercial fishing fleets get to fish. In a budget handout given to the UFA board, the department said less precise data means more conservative management and less opportunity to harvest for all users of the state’s resources.The department is also looking at consolidating administrative staff and cost savings that could come with a proposed reorganization or elimination of the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, the organization in charge of vessel licensing and permits for commercial fisheries.Commercial fleets and processing companies pay tens of millions of dollars of taxes to the state each year. That number fluctuates with the changing volume of the catch and the changing dollar amount for that catch.Industry members said they would continue to advocate for the Fish and Game budget in the legislature and noted the importance of the commercial fisheries division in the overall department’s operations. UFA members also asked for greater transparency in the state budgets; they wanted to see easily understandable budgets with program costs down to specific line items so they could suggest spending cuts.The governor’s budget proposal for next year is due out in December.