Trollers Disappointed by Fish Board Ruling

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

Alaska Trollers Association Board President Matt Donohoe says he’s disappointed by the Board of Fisheries’ decisions Friday that will mean continued harm to trollers in Southeast Alaska.

The fisheries board’s meeting is reported elsewhere on this page.

“I think residents of Alaska, sport and commercial fishermen, suffered a terrible blow by the Board of Fish who favored out-of-state residents over residents,” Donohoe told the Sentinel.

Proposal 259, supported by the Sitka Fish and Game Advisory committee, would have regulated sport fishing for Chinook by in-season management when sport anglers go over their harvest limit. At its meeting in Ketchikan, the Alaska Board of Fisheries voted it down, with two votes in favor and four against.

The proposal originated with Sitka trollers Dave Richey and Monique Wilkinson in response to the situation this year when guided sport fishermen exceeded their 2023 harvest ceiling for Chinook by 17,000 fish, which removed 15,500 Chinook from the commercial troll quota, Donohoe said.

“That meant we only had a one-day opening in August for the second opening this summer, and it means, going ahead, charter clients will be going over a lot on a regular basis,” he said.

Though the trollers are most acutely affected, Donohoe said this will also affect resident sport anglers and net fishermen.

“The resident sport fishermen should also be concerned that most of the sport harvest is going out of state,” he said.

Donohoe had hoped that 259 would pass because it would reinstate the language approved by the Board of Fisheries last year, calling for in-season management of sport fishing for Chinook. This didn’t happen this year, after a regulatory change by the state Fish and Game, approved by the lieutenant governor, changing the reference of “sport fishery harvest ceiling” to just “harvest ceiling.”

The decision by Fish and Game goes against a management policy that Donohoe said trollers have counted on for decades. 

“In-season management is a cornerstone of Alaska’s Fish and Game management,” he said.

Donohoe said he and other board members will discuss their options going forward because there is a growing concern that there will be no limit to the amount that out-of-state sport harvest will eat into the summer commercial Chinook quota. “They’re an  unlimited fleet,” he said.

Proposals 257, 258

Donohoe said the fisheries board passage of Proposal 257 was another blow to commercial trollers because it removed the language “sport fishery harvest limit will be...”

“It took out language about limits; their limit will be the treaty allocation,” he said. The Pacific Salmon Commission sets an all-gear allocation for Chinook.

The split between commercial and resident/nonresident anglers is 80-20. But in 2023, it was closer to 71-29 because there was no in-season management once the sport anglers took above their 20 percent, Donohoe said.

Donohoe said the rejection of Proposal 258, submitted by Tad Fujioka of Sitka, was another loss to the local fleet.

“Tad worked hard on it; I agreed it was just housekeeping but the board wanted to get rid of in-season management on out-of-state residents,” Donohoe said.

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AK COVID-19

At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

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 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.

 

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20 YEARS AGO

March 2004

Photo caption: Fire engines and ambulances shine in the sun outside the new fire hall Saturday during an open house. Hundreds turned out to look over the $4 million facility, which is twice the size of the building it replaced. It features a state-of-the-art exhaust system and much larger offices and a large training room.


50 YEARS AGO

March 1974

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will have a special showing of replicas of ancient Tlingit hunting weapons. The replicas were made by A. P. Johnson, a Tlingit  culture instructor and metal arts teacher at SJC.

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