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West Behm Canal Herring Fishery Cancellation
by Andy Rauwolf for the Ketchikan Area Herring Action Group


April 19, 2004

First and foremost, this fishery would probably have taken place right after ADF&G documented the first spawn if it wasn't for the response from the local citizens who sent letters and expressed their protest for this sac roe fishery. It should never have been scheduled in the first place. The West Behm Canal area is highly controversial since ADF&G wiped out these stocks over 25 years ago and it continues to fluctuate in abundance due to predation and ADF&G's own cost recovery program which gillnets from 40 to 100 tons of the largest fish annually from this area.

Alaska Board of Fisheries turned a deaf ear to all of us during their 2003 fin fish BOF meeting. It was obvious that this deal had been cut before the meeting began because local residents were told in advance that if they were there to talk about herring, they were wasting their time. They were concerned because their own observations conflicted with ADF&G's overly optimistic forecasts. The fish were small and the numbers were not there. This decision by the BOF cost the state thousands of dollars and the industry tens of thousands of dollars.

ADF&G continues to portray themselves as conservative managers of the herring stocks as well as make efforts to convince the public that the stocks are in relatively good condition. However, all sac roe harvest areas were either shut down or downgraded this season. West Behm Canal, prior to this year, was touted as the second largest stock in Southeast. If this is true, there are serious problems with the herring stocks.

The fourteenth law passed by the First Legislature outlawed sac roe fisheries. The law was quietly repealed years later just prior to the sac roe fisheries. The wisdom of the first legislatures is worth mentioning.

Ketchikan Area Herring Action Group
Andy Rauwolf
Ketchikan, AK - USA



Related news:

West Behm Canal Herring Fishery Will Not Open...
Monday - April 19, 2004



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