Baranof Warm Springs Hatchery plans to be decided by next month

The public review process concerning a proposed hatchery at Baranof Warm Springs has ended. Soon it will be up to the Department of Fish and Game Commissioner’s office to determine if there will be a new salmon hatchery.

Private Nonprofit Hatchery Coordinator Sam Rabung said the next step is to compile all the comments and finalize a basic management plan. He said the deadline to present this to the Commissioner for a decision is June 14.

Rabung said public input has had a large impact on the proposal so far, mostly in reducing its scale of operation. He said basic management plan has been changed greatly from what was requested in the original permit application.

“They are significantly different,” he said.

He said the project has also been moved onto state land to remove potential conflicts with local zoning regulations and impacts on neighbors.

Rabung said this application is only for the biological and fishery aspects of the project. Even if this permit is granted, there are a number of others required, including those for land and water discharge.

Rabung said the purpose behind developing a new Southeast hatchery goes back to supply and demand, be it for commercial, sport or subsistence.

“In general, statewide there is a demand for more salmon. That’s evidenced by the continually raising prices,” he said. “Demand is not being met worldwide.”

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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