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Fish Radio

April 25, 2014                                                   

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – A setnet ban gets a day in court, and herring prices hit bottom at Togiak. More after this —

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 A push to ban setnet fishing in urban Alaska regions got a Superior Court hearing this week.

A group called Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance wants the Court to overturn an earlier state ruling that called the set ban unconstitutional and said it cannot be put on the ballot as an initiative. The state said the measure involves resource allocation, a matter reserved for the Board of Fish and legislative bodies, and that it would wipe out an entire fishery. The salmon would then be transferred to other user groups.  The Alliance, led by sports angler Bob Pennye, wants setnets pulled from the Mat Su Borough, Ketchikan, Juneau, Valdez, Fairbanks and most areas around Anchorage. They claim other methods of fishing, such as dip netting or beach seining would be more appropriate.   Judge Catherine Easter said she would issue her summary judgment within 60 days. If she overrules the state’s decision, the initiative supporters hope to collect enough signatures to have the measure on the ballot in August 2016.


Turning to Togiak – the state’s biggest roe herring fishery could kick off in a week or so with a harvest pegged at nearly 28,000 tons. With the market in a slump and all time low prices expected, some are calling for the fishery to remain closed. Robin Samuelson of Dillingham is chair of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Association and a lifelong fisherman.


It’s not worth going over there for. A lot of fishermen going over are saying we need to hold our spot in case the price comes up. I personally feel them fish are more important to the ecosystem at $50-$65 a ton than catching them. We need to look at how we can capitalize on that market.  


Instead of just using the roe, there’s been talk by processors of using the Togiak herring for canned and powdered products for global relief efforts.


At Sitka the base price for roe herring last month was just $150 compared to $600. The grounds price last year at Togiak was about $100/ton. Thanks to the assist from KDLG.



Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America.   In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.