SHOW GOES ON – Fireworks explode low over Sitka Channel Friday night as Sitkans watch from their boats and shore. Businesses and private individuals sponsored this year's display. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

May 1, 2020, Letters to the Editor

 Fishery Injunction

Dear Editor: SalmonState, Alaska Trollers Association and Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association are joined by sport and charter fishermen to condemn the Wild Fish Conservancy’s recent misguided decision to attack Alaskan fishing families, rather than the underlying cause of the Southern Resident orca population’s decline: the decades of destruction of the Pacific Northwest’s freshwater habitat vital to Chinook salmon, an important food source for Southern resident orcas.

On April 17, Washington-based Wild Fish Conservancy filed an injunction in federal court to prevent Chinook salmon trolling in Southeast Alaska effective July 1, 2020. The injunction comes just a month after the Wild Fish Conservancy’s lawsuit against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for authorizing the Southeast Alaska Chinook troll fishery. In response, Alaska fishermen and conservationists spoke out in opposition to the Wild Fish Conservancy’s injunction, expressing their disappointment that the organization chose to divide stakeholders rather than bring them together.

“It is both disheartening and surprising that this Washington group has overlooked the dams, habitat degradation, and toxic pollution in their own backyard and instead has focused their attack on a sustainable hook and line salmon fishery over a thousand miles away,’’ said Thatcher Brouwer, Commercial fisherman and Alaska Trollers Association Board member. ‘‘This frivolous lawsuit not only endangers our region’s economy and small-boat fisheries, but also the future survival of Northwest Chinook and orca populations. As a commercial fisherman I have been proud to work with conservation groups in Alaska to protect salmon habitat. If fishermen are driven out of business, who will be left to effectively advocate for protection of wild salmon and the habitat they depend on? Now is a time when we should be coming together and combining efforts to tackle these complex issues while we still have a chance.”

“Alaska’s small scale fishermen are committed to sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems. Our members are fishing families who are passing along a tradition of stewardship to kids and grandkids. In fact, our organization has been honored for its conservation work both in Alaska and nationally by the Obama Administration. This lawsuit facilitates the demise of wild salmon and orcas by ignoring the devastating impacts of dams, pollution, and habitat loss. And the timing could not be worse; right now family fishermen are struggling to provide healthy seafood to a country confronted with a pandemic. This lawsuit is misguided at best,” said Linda Behnken, commercial fisherman and Executive Director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

“Alaska is famous throughout the world for its successful, science-based fisheries management – that is why we have healthy fisheries. I currently hold the Resident Sportfishing seat on the Sitka Fish and Game Advisory Committee and have lived and fished in Sitka for 23 years. I can say with certainty that each member of our Advisory Committee, whether representing sport, commercial, subsistence or conservation interests always puts preservation of the resource first prior to engaging in any allocation battles. I feel this lawsuit is a misguided diversion from the real issues: pollution, dams, and habitat loss in Washington state,” said Steve Ramp, Sitka resident and sport fisherman.

“We see orcas regularly here in Southeast Alaska – our guests love spotting them, and I do too. We still have healthy whale populations in Alaska because we have healthy, intact salmon habitat from the headwaters out to the marine waters. That’s not the case in the Pacific Northwest where the freshwater environment has been largely spoiled by urban impacts and dams, which have limited access to historically productive salmon river systems. Over a million people visit Southeast Alaska every summer for a reason: they want to see and experience what an intact ecosystem looks like. Sadly, this is a rarity in the world today,” said Mike Reif, owner and operator of Sea Roamer Charters.

“I have been working on Alaska conservation issues for over 25 years and this lawsuit is possibly the most misguided effort I’ve seen in my career. This suit is a cynical attempt to target commercial and sport salmon fishermen in Southeast Alaska while ignoring the root cause behind the massive decline of salmon in the Pacific Northwest and the plight of Southern Resident orcas: catastrophic habitat destruction in Washington and Southern British Columbia. If we put every boat on the beach we would do little to help these incredible mammals. The answer to saving them lies a lot closer to Puget Sound than Southeast Alaska,” said Tim Bristol, executive director of SalmonState. 

Amy Daugherty, Executive Director,

Alaska Trollers Association;

Linda Behnken, Commercial fisherman, Executive Director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association;

Tim Bristol, Executive Director,

 

SalmonState

You have no rights to post comments

______________________

 

Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-6-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 1:25 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 28

Total statewide – 1,166

Total (cumulative) deaths – 16

Active cases in Sitka – 6 (3 resident; 3 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 74.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

______________________

 

Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

Login Form

Most recent Sentinels — PDF edition

June 29, 2020

June 30, 2020

July 1, 2020

July 2, 2020

July 6, 2020

Facebook

calendar