Board rejects sharing Sitka Sound herring

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2003

SITKA - The state Board of Fisheries voted unanimously Monday against a proposal calling for equal shares among fishermen in the Sitka Sound sac roe herring fishery.

The proposal was endorsed by 41 of the 51 seiners holding Sitka Sound herring harvest permits. But board members said they did not see enough evidence to make a major change.

Under the proposal, each participating permit holder would be awarded an equal share in the annual guideline harvest level to be taken during the open season.

The current fishery is competitive and each permit holder goes after herring at the same time in brief openings.

Proponents of the change said an equal share would allow for extended time and dispersal of the fishery, making it safer, orderly and efficient.

Also, it would provide permit holders a better assurance of income and improve product quality, proponents said.

Opponents said permit stacking - having more than one permit holder registered on the same vessel - and tendering could decrease fishermen's ability to harvest the season's guideline harvest level, causing some stakeholders to lose much of their economic share.

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