After attending the recent Alaska Board of Fish meeting in Sitka, we hope that the residents of Southeast Alaska communities and other interested parties will realize the importance of board decisions.
As anticipated, herring issues were among the most controversial and, not surprisingly, the most misunderstood. After all, herring are not easily observed or assessed accurately without specialized equipment and monitoring techniques.
Throughout the meeting, it took an unprecedented level of information review and analysis before the board was comfortably able to support the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's conservative, abundance-based management plan.
The board's ultimate endorsement of the fishery with only a minor change was a relief for those of us who have made considerable investments in the Sitka sac roe seine fishery.
It also should be interpreted as a clear signal to the public that the Department's herring stock assessments provide the best available data and that it is reasonably used in managing for sustainability and harvest of available surpluses.
As an integral piece of the economic mosaic that supports Sitka, other Southeast communities and the state as a whole, we hope that accurate, time-tested and well-documented information about this fishery and important resource will continue to prevail.
We will look forward to a long-term future with an abundant herring resource that supports a variety of responsible uses and users.