Alaska Digest

Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Areas won't open as commercial herring fisheries in 2005

KETCHIKAN - Two areas in Southeast Alaska will remain closed as commercial herring fisheries for at least another year.

The West Behm Canal and Kah Shakes area south of Ketchikan will not open as commercial gillnet herring sac roe fisheries in 2005, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Herring stocks in both areas are estimated to be below the 6,000-ton thresholds for opening a commercial fishery, department officials said.

The West Behm area was supposed to open as a fishery this year for the first time in more than 25 years.

However, despite a forecast of 9,300 tons, fewer herring than expected appeared in spawning grounds in late March and early April, and the 2004 fishery was canceled.

The department's forecast of the mature herring stock size at West Behm Canal in 2005 is 446 tons.

No stock size assessment surveys were done at the Kah Shakes/Cat Island area because there wasn't enough spawning activity mapped this year to justify them, according to Scott Kelley, regional supervisor for the departments commercial fisheries division. Kah Shakes hasn't opened as a fishery since 1998.

BP's Alaska budget for 2005 is $1.5B

ANCHORAGE - BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. won't increase its 2005 operating budget compared to this year, but has allocated more to its capital budget as the company builds double-hulled oil tankers to transport crude from Valdez.

BP's operating and management budget in Alaska will remain about $800 million, while the company's capital budget will increase $50 million to $700 million for the year, company officials said.

About $350 million of the capital budget in both years is allocated for building the tankers, company spokesman Daren Beaudo said.

The first tanker, Alaskan Frontier, has made five trips carrying 5.5 million barrels of crude oil from Valdez to the West Coast since being delivered to the company in August.

Three more tankers are expected to come online between now and 2006, according to company officials.

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