KETCHIKAN - The Federal Subsistence Board will consider 15 proposals affecting fishing in Southeast Alaska when it meets this week in Anchorage.
Proposals being discussed at the meeting that begins today include plans to boost subsistence fishing opportunities for trout and coho salmon.
John Littlefield, chairman of the Southeast Alaska Regional Advisory Council, submitted a proposal that would allow the subsistence harvest of steelhead trout greater than 22 inches in length throughout Southeast Alaska.
The 22-inch requirement is currently used only by the federal subsistence fishery on Prince of Wales Island. Outside of the island, steelheads harvested for subsistence must be 36 inches or more in length.
The proposal would not change the harvest limit from two steelheads a year.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is concerned about conservation issues raised by the proposal. In formal comments recommending that the proposal not be adopted, the department stated, we remain concerned that this proposal does not ensure that small stocks and fall stocks would be protected from over harvesting.
Littlefield also submitted another far-reaching proposal.
Proposal 30 would substantially change the federal subsistence harvest regulations for Dolly Varden, cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, brook trout and grayling.
Existing Dolly Varden daily harvest and possession limits of 10 fish of any size would be replaced with language providing no limits on harvests. The proposal would boost the daily harvest and possession limits for cutthroat and rainbow trout from six fish to 12 fish and remove he existing size limit of between 11 inches and 22 inches.
The proposal would also establish federal subsistence limits for brook trout and grayling at 20 fish per day with a possession limit of 40.
The Fish and Game Department stated in written comments that the size of federal management staff is too small to assure that overharvests won't occur.