Shot in the Arm for Southeast Fishermen
June 11, 2006
"I am very pleased that the Department of Fish and Game has been able to open the Stikine and Taku areas to Chinook salmon for the second year in a row," Murkowski said. "The salmon populations have rebounded to the point that runs are strong and healthy and the commercial fishery is able to make a contribution to the area's economy."
Of the total Chinook salmon harvest, 22,400 have been taken by the drift gillnet fleet, and about 1,000 have been harvested by trollers. Sports fishermen are also benefiting from liberalized bag limits and expanded methods and means.
Processors in Wrangell, Petersburg and Juneau are purchasing and marketing the fish, while several fishermen do their own direct marketing. Some of the fresh-caught Chinooks are being flown south by Alaska Airlines, which has limited cargo capacity. The remainder is being trucked via the Alaska Marine Highway System.
"When we took office in
December 2002, the salmon industry was deeply depressed,"
Murkowski said. "We were able to turn this around through
a number of innovative programs, including a matching grant program
for marketing at every level of the industry. It is very gratifying
to see the positive results of these efforts for fishing families
and their communities."
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