SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Annette Island Expansion
By Philip Doherty


March 06, 2008
Thursday PM

The United Fishermen of Alaska are opposing any expansion of the waters and fishing rights around Annette Island. UFA has just sent this letter to the Department of the Interior:

March 4, 2008

The Honorable Carl J. Artman
Assistant Secretary Indian Affairs
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW, Room 4160
Washington, DC 20240

Re: Metlakatla Indian Community Boundary Expansion Proposal

Dear Assistant Secretary Artman,

United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) represents 37 commercial fishing organizations participating in fisheries throughout Alaska and its offshore waters. UFA opposes the expansion of the Annette Island Reserve as proposed by the Metlakatla Indian Community. The state fisheries that occur in the proposed expansion area includes: commercial salmon fisheries with seine and troll gear, miscellaneous commercial dive fisheries for red urchins, sea cucumbers and geoducks, herring gillnet sac-roe fishery, commercial demersal shelf rockfish, commercial sablefish; sport, personal use and subsistence fisheries for salmon, rockfish, bottom fish species, subsistence roe on kelp and personal use shellfish fisheries along with federal fisheries for halibut for the commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence sectors.

In addition, some other fisheries such as the commercial gillnet fleet would be impacted by the harvest of traveling fish through this area. All of these fisheries are fully allocated and totally utilized, and local communities and residents will be severely impacted if these fisheries are reallocated by a boundary expansion or an expansion of the Annette Island Reserve fishermen fishing in state or federal fisheries without the appropriate permit. There are still fisheries within Southeast Alaska and the proposed area expansion that do not require a limited entry permit such as the demersal shelf rockfish and the miscellaneous finfish permits.

The proposal's conclusion that the proposed expansion "has only an upside with little, if any, sustainable objections to be put forth" is not shared among the participants in the many fisheries listed above that will be affected. UFA objects and we assert that the potential downside to existing users of the resources in the area are significant enough to warrant serious scrutiny and public process. We are concerned with these potential adverse effects on a large number of U.S. citizens in an unclear process where opportunities are not clearly established for thorough consideration of the social and economic affects. While we oppose the expansion, we also ask that if this proposal is not denied outright, that a public process be implemented with public hearings in affected communities, and ample opportunity for written public comment.

Mark Vinsel
Executive Director

Philip Doherty
SARDFA - Executive Director
Ketchikan, AK


Received March 05, 2008 - Published March 06, 2008


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