Salmon Enhancement For Southeast Alaska
by Mike Round
February 15, 2005
SSRAA is a not for profit corporation that is governed by a 21 member board of directors, the majority of whom are commercial fishermen (13). The remaining board members (8) are appointed from surrounding communities and represent many other users. The purpose of the association is to enhance the salmon resource for the social and economic benefit of all users groups. To this end, SSRAA has done a commendable job for nearly three decades.
Since SSRAA has been actively working with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources to establish a long-term lease agreement for the hatchery land, the transfer of the ownership and management of this parcel from the state of Alaska to the University was never anticipated nor expected.
In 2001 the McDowell Group completed an economic study showing the beneficial impact of SSRAA on the regional economy. It was determined that for the year 2000 SSRAA had contributed $28 million dollars to the total economic output of the region. Similar economic value comes back to Ketchikan and other surrounding communities year after year - every year.
In 2004, it is estimated that 67% of sport caught King salmon in the Ketchikan area were from SSRAA releases. Additionally, sport fishers in the Clover Pass/ Behm Canal area catch 15 to 20 thousand returning SSRAA cohos annually. The production from SSRAA facilities is the backbone of the estimated $4 million-dollar sport/charter industry in Ketchikan. SSRAA s salmon production has helped support not only the commercial salmon fishing industry and the economy of Ketchikan, but also, the very life style that makes living in southeast Alaska unique.
With the transfer of land management at Neets Creek, the benefits enjoyed from SSRAA production could be in jeopardy. The Neets Bay hatchery is SSRAA s largest production hatchery and currently raises over 135,000,000 juvenile salmon for release into the waters of southeast Alaska for all who want them. The University of Alaska board of regents has a fiduciary responsibility to raise money for the college s endowment program through the sale and revenue flow from their land holdings. Neets Bay hatchery and the surrounding watershed would become part of these holdings under House Bill # 130.
The goals of the Land Grant Endowment Program are inconsistent with the purpose and goals of SSRAA. At present, SSRAA still has a voice in the control and use of its Neets Bay parcel through the state legislative process, but to stop this land transfer our legislators have to hear many voices. To secure and protect the future benefits you and your communities receive from SSRAA enhancement, please contact your legislators (listed below) and let them know that you too are opposed to the Neets Creek land transfer.
(Further information on SSRAA and its operations, including pictures, can be found on SSRAA s web site, www.ssraa.org)
Senator Bert Stedman
Representative Jim Elkins
Representative Peggy Wilson
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.