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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Herring a Forage Fish

By Lawrence Snapper Carson


April 22, 2013
Monday PM

Spring brings the end of the winter doldrums and the interaction of the blooms of the ocean and the land. Mankind has survived and taken part in Southeast Alaska’s bounty for millenniums of time. The survival and the use of these resources has changed as mankind has moved from a subsistence life style to a greedy, politically managed, and commercially based utilization of herring.

Herring have always been a forage fish but the State of Alaska has failed to accept that fact.

Is it wrong to harvest these spawning fish, a key part of Alaska’s oceans food pyramid, as they try to survive through propagation alone ?

Proper federal and state management is the key and it is quite obvious a more conservative path is now necessary. If the answer to these questions is no then perhaps there is not a problem with herring resources in the Southeast Alaska.

 #1 Are there more herring harvest areas open today than there were at the advent of the roe fisheries in the 1970's?

#2 Are there more marine mammals to be feed on the Southeast waters than there were 40 yrs. ago?

#3 Is the release of salmon fry into Southeast Alaska waters more than it was 40 yrs. ago?

# 4 Are there more herring in Tongass Narrows than there were 40 yrs. ago?

# 5 Do gillnets remove the larger more fecund females from the gene pool ?

# 6 Do herring that spawn on kelp inside a herring pound contribute to the herring population resources?

 # 7 Are king salmon and halibut smaller for their age than they were 40yrs. ago?

 # 8  Is the dollar price for herring roe more than it was in the 1970's?

These are just a few questions to ponder. If the answer to all of them is no then the continued destruction of herring stocks is not a problem and all is well.

Lawrence Snapper Carson
Ketchikan, AK


About: "70 year resident, watching whales, sea lions, seals, sea otters, eagles, cougars and wolves proliferate in my front yard."

Received April 20, 2013 - Published April 22, 2013

Related Viewpoints:

letter Sitka’s Herring Population is Stronger than Ever by Jake Ingman

letter Herring Fisheries By Andy Rauwolf

letter The Truth About the Herring By Terri Wenger Anderson

letter State of Alaska Denies Herring Forage Fish Status By Michael Baines



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