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by Pete Ellis


April 21, 2004

It is somewhat comforting to find that Fish and Game finally had the courage to call off the harvest if for no other reason that they felt the biomass and spawn were insufficient to justify being on notice for a further period of time.

What we should appreciate is the continuing effort to end the herring fishery and to perhaps create a climate in which the resource will be preserved and grow. As is indicated in "A biography of Alaska's herring: A little fish of huge importance" By June Allen and as of March 14, 2004:

"Today the herring have become smaller and smaller. According to marine biologists, Pacific herring up to 18 inches have been recorded. But the Alaska herring have become smaller and smaller and now an eight-inch fish is considered "good sized." No one - biologist, politician or fisherman is venturing a guess as to the reason for today's smaller fish. In some ways it seems obvious. Perhaps not."

The real reason should be obvious. Continued fishing with a failure to re-build stocks to prior levels. Too bad that Fish and Game chooses to put the herring fishery again at risk by suggesting that there may be a West Behm fishery in 2005. The better course is simply to end the fishery until we once again approach the biomass volume and size that existed prior to the 1950's.

Pete Ellis
Ketchikan, AK - USA



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