Posted: Friday, June 01, 2001

Herring today, gone tomorrow

JUNEAU - Sport anglers are finding some relief from a bait herring shortage by tapping bait blocks meant for commercial fishermen.

Seafood retailer Susan Doyle thawed some of the commercial bait, which comes in 35-pound frozen blocks, and sold it six herring per bag at the Fish Shack, a small building near Western Auto. A sign on the shack reading "Bait Herring" drew a line of cars before the business opened Thursday.

Doyle thawed 13 blocks, which cost about $17 to $21 each at retail, and within six hours sold her entire inventory of roughly 260 bags of herring at $3.50 each. However, she does not plan a repeat sale partly because it's too time-consuming to thaw the blocks and bag the fish, she said.

Local processors who supply the herring blocks to commercial fishermen are reluctant to sell them to sport anglers. Alaska Glacier Seafood acquired its herring blocks for the commercial fleets that sell fish to the company, and its first priority is to ensure commercial users have enough, said president Mike Erickson.

"We have made some walk-in sales, but I think I may have to roll that back or stop it now because I'm concerned about having ample supplies of herring," Erickson said.

Although Taku Smokeries has not turned anglers away, general manager Eric Norman said the one-box sales are outside the scope of the company's usual transactions to commercial users.

"We're trying to not encourage it because we don't sell one box at a time, we sell it 3,000 pounds at a time," Norman said. "It's not our forte."

Local retailers ran out of herring last week after a dismal herring catch in Canada by one of two major suppliers in Alaska. The other major dealer sold its inventory earlier this year to Lower 48 sport anglers participating in a new fishery on the Columbia River.

Cancer survivors celebrate life

JUNEAU - Sunday marks the 14th annual National Cancer Survivors Day, the world's largest cancer survivor event. Seven hundred communities nationwide will participate, including Juneau.

The Southeast Alaskan Cancer and Wellness Foundation encourages residents to attend the celebration to demonstrate their support for cancer survivors, their families, friends and healthcare providers.

The event begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Juneau-Douglas High School commons, with registration at 1 p.m. The walk proceeds down Glacier Avenue to Willoughby Avenue, winding up at Marine Park. The Celebration of Life will continue at the park from 2 to 3 p.m. with music, refreshments and plenty of hugs.

For details, call Mike Miller, Southeast Alaska Cancer and Wellness Foundation, 586-2952.

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