Fish Board looks at Southeast herring fishery

Posted: Monday, January 20, 2003

KETCHIKAN (AP) -- Whether to open West Behm Canal in Souheast Alaska to commercial fishing for herring is one of the issues being considered by the Alaska Board of Fisheries starting Monday in Sitka.

Along with other Southeast Alaska herring issues, the board will consider proposals for changes in regional fisheries including groundfish and subsistence finfish, Dungeness crab, shrimp and miscellaneous finfish.

Salmon-related proposals are scheduled to be considered the board's meeting in Ketchikan beginning Feb. 20.

The Wrangell Fish and Game Advisory Committee is asking the board to allocate the West Behm Canal herring resource to a user group and start a commercial fishery there by 2003. Behm Canal runs along the east side of Revillagigedo Island.

The Ketchikan Fish and Game Advisory Committee was split on the issue of opening a new commercial fishery there.

Other proposals suggest a purse seine sac roe fishery at West Behm Canal, or purse seine sac roe fisheries to harvest any remaining Southeast bait quotas at West Behm Canal and other sites such as Tenakee Inlet and Ernest Sound.

The Department of Fish and Game is neutral on the West Behm Canal issue, which is its usual position on proposals that would allocate resources between user groups.

The board earlier declined to act on proposals for West Behm Canal herring fisheries.

But four new members will be considering the idea in Sitka. New members appointed to the board Thursday by Gov. Frank Murkowski are Rupert Andrews of Juneau; John Jensen from Petersburg; Mel Morris of Kodiak; and Art Nelson of Anchorage.

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