SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


West Behm Canal Herring: The Rest of the Story
By Ron Porter


February 11, 2011
Friday PM

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to Andy Rauwolf, Snapper Carson & Mike Fleenor's misguided, ill-informed opinions with no scientific data to support them concerning the West Behm Canal herring fishery.

Rauwolf, Snapper & Fleenor question the stock assessment methods ADF&G has used to justify the pending herring sac roe fishery, Spring 2011. As directed by Alaska Statute, title 16, ADF&G's job is to "conserve and manage the resources." They are the experts, they spend the money and take the time to assure that Alaska's herring resources are inventoried and allocated with conservation as the first priority. This is their statutory mandate and they do it well. Their herring assessment methods and management policies are the envy of North America and possibly the entire world; they pass global peer reviews and over the years have been nothing but a stellar success in managing the commercial herring fisheries of SE Alaska and rebuilding the stocks. In fact, by many orders of magnitude, there are more herring now in SE Alaska than in any other time since statehood. I am not so naive as to think that these facts are not arguable but anybody who has spent the time on the water throughout SE Alaska watching the herring, birds, whales, and all the interactions between species from the bottom to the top of the food chain knows that there is no shortage of herring.

Having spent my entire professional life on the water, I have seen a lot and there is one immutable truth from these years of observation; the whale and herring populations in SE Alaska have been increasing on parallel trajectories from extremely low levels due to over exploitation under federal management to populations that are now the most thriving populations ever in modern times. Whale populations in SE Alaska may be rapidly approaching a saturation point.

Fish and Game managers are the experts. They have the science and experience to back them up and I am just an observer with a stake in the outcome of their management decisions. Yes, I fish herring so I need a harvest allocation, but it must be sustainable over time. I can't imagine a bunch of fishermen or any other sector of the public managing any better. Can you?

More to follow.


Ron Porter
Ketchikan, AK


About: "I have been involved in the sac roe herring, gillnet and purse seine fisheries in SE Alaska since their inception."

Received February 11, 2011 - Published February 11, 2011


Related Viewpoint:

letter THE PLIGHT OF WEST BEHM CANAL By Andy Rauwolf, Snapper Carson & Mike Fleenor

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