Extinction of herring would
by Lawrence "Snapper"
March 17, 2004
Presently there are many probems and challenges facing Alaskan
Residents. Some of these will be over come, and some will adversely
effect future generations of Alaskans and our wildlife.
One of the problems we are facing now is the possible extinction
of the herring population. The extinction of herring would be
devastating and could also lead to the demise of several species
of fish and marine mammals who feed on them.
Herring have been over harvested and exploited by government
controlled fishing for years. The herring reduction fisheries
decimated many populations that never survived and many that
will never be what they were before the reduction fisheries.
Even bait herring fisheries have depleted stocks but still continue
with much smaller quotas. Historically, all of Ketchikan's bait
was taken from Tongass Narrows, in front of Tongass Trading.
Imagine trying to do that in 2004?
Roe fishing doesn't have a shining record of conservation of
its fishery stocks either. Many areas that supported large quotas
in years past are now closed or cut back. Even Sitka's herring
quota was reduced this year from its original estimated harves.
Why? We have and continue to take too many herring.
In the Pacific Northwest the production of salmon is at an all
time high. Not only for wild stock enhancement, but artificially
established stocks and escaped farm salmon. Bottom line, they
all eat herring.
The protection of marine mammals has also increased the mouths
at the diminishing herring feast. In the past few years it is
not uncommon to see humpback whales and well as large groups
of sea lions consuming herring in Behm Canal.
Our local Department of Fish and Game has also been harvesting
this stock. Anywhere between 50 to 100 tons per year in the
name of scientific research. Thes fish are caught by Alaskan
Fishermen and then put on Canadian Tenders and taken to Canada
to be processed. Does this program benefit Alaskans?
The Behm Canal Roe Fishery was proposed in Wrangell and established
in Sitka, not Ketchikan. There was never any timely input for
discussion of this fishery that effects so many.
To me, for the State of Alaska to reestablish this fishery makes
as much sense as clear cut logging all of Behm Canal and reinstating
all of the pre-statehood salmon fish traps. If this proposed
fishery is allowed to proceed its consequence can only bring
another huge negative impact on these ever diminishing herring
Note: Comments published
on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
Ketchikan, AK - USA
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.
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