Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 10:34 PM on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Council to vote on king protection

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will vote in June on the motion to reduce the number of chinook salmon that the Gulf of Alaska pollock trawler fleet will be allowed to waste. There is a preferred alternative of 22,500 chinook, but many are asking the council to bring the number down to 15,000.

Will it be hard for the draggers to catch the pollock without impacting the much more valuable chinook? Certainly, but every fisherman from every gear type has been asked to take a hit in recent years. Every one has had to alter their behavior to adapt to the climate, fuel and gear costs, and fishery management obstacles. It is time for the draggers to feel our pain.

Many have asked "but what about the halibut?" and yes, the by-catch numbers of halibut are enormous and impact our community even more than the chinook, but that is on another agenda and will be worked on next fall.

Many of you have signed the stakeholders' letter that will be carried to the council and along with testimony from the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, the issue will be well represented at the June meeting. It is important to let the council know how important these fish are to your business, your culture and your dinner table.

Comments must be received by 5 p.m. Tuesday, to be included in the council members' packets. You can mail or fax your comments to the council, but the council does not accept e-mail.

The fax number is (907) 271-2817. The address is NPFMC, Eric Olson, chairman, 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501-2252. If you need help with comments give me a call at 235-2911 and I will try to help.

Pete Wedin