SEACC Urges Board of Fisheries to Act on Herring Conservation at Southeast Finfish Meeting

Lee House

Written by Matt Jackson

March 9, 2022

JUNEAU (Tlingit: A’aawk Kwáan lands) — Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is attending the Southeast and Yukatat Finfish and Shellfish meeting of the Alaska Board of Fisheries in Anchorage this week from March 10 through 12 to lend support to Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) and the Herring Protectors.

SEACC strongly urges the Board to vote in favor of proposals 156, 157, and 158, submitted by STA, the original stewards of Sitka Sound’s herring. Proposal 156 makes the fishery more conservative when there are fewer herring, while proposals 157 and 158 adjust the harvest formula to include stronger safeguards for older, mature herring, and diverse age classes. 

While these proposals do not alter the fundamental conflict surrounding the sac-roe fishery — which disrupts subsistence harvests, wastes 90% of the herring biomass, and harms the marine ecosystem — STA’s proposals will result in more herring being left in Sitka Sound, which is a very good thing.

Likewise, SEACC strongly opposes proposals 159, 160, 161, 162, 164, 165, and 166. These proposals are all bad for herring and bad for subsistence harvesters, as they attempt to impose a permit system on subsistence harvesters, shrink protected subsistence areas, and try to expand the scope of the sac-roe fishery in various ways. This fishery is fundamentally flawed, as shown by STA’s detailed comments on the record outlining the gross miscalculations in the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s calculation of the Average Unfished Biomass.

Until these flaws are addressed, and the history of herring collapse across Southeast Alaska is addressed, we cannot support any expansion of the sac-roe fishery, or any additional barriers to subsistence harvest.

Contact Heather Evoy, SEACC’s Indigenous Engagement Lead, at heather@seacc.org or 562-453-6462 with any further questions.

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