SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Board of Fish Deceit and the Company Line.
By Lloyd Gossman


April 10, 2010

The Board of Fish recently opened a commercial summer Dungeness crab fishery that had been closed for nearly 25 years because of the waste. They did this under the guise of needing to gather new data. The fishery is going into its second season and no attempt has been made to gather data. That is the deceit.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF & G) is the agency that is supposed to gather the data. Prior to opening the commercial summer Dungeness fishery they spoke against it. Now that it is open, the Department calls it an allocation problem and says there is a sufficient number of Dungeness crab. The ADF & G say they have no money to gather data. It also appears they have no intention of trying to find the money to gather data. That is the company line.

It is the waste that infuriates our communities and anyone who goes out and gathers Dungeness for subsistence or personal use. The waste in the summer fishery comes from the increased "dead loss" and handling the crab when they are soft shelled and reproducing.

Perhaps Alaska natives need to exercise their rights and take control of this resource. They would never allow this kind of waste.

The 2009 summer Commercial Dungeness crab fishery in District 1 (the Ketchikan area) wasted approximately 15,000 Dungeness crab. If you considered the waste for all of Management Area A, I would estimate conservatively that 300,000 Dungeness crab were wasted. These kinds of numbers are what led to a closure of the District 1 fishery 25 years ago. Nothing has changed, and in District 1, we don't have Dungeness crab to waste.

The ADF & G told the Board of Fish in March that there is a biological problem with the commercial summer Dungeness crab fishery. Then the same spokesman told the Board there is no yield problem. The Board promptly allowed the fishery to continue. In other words, if they think there is enough Dungeness - it's OK to waste them. I called my state representatives and told them how I feel. If you feel like I do, call them and ask them to find a way stop the commercial summer Dungeness crab season in District one. It really needs to be stopped in all of Southeast.

Lloyd Gossman
Ketchikan, AK

Received April 09, 2010 - Published April 10, 2010


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