National Fisherman


This summer and fall, state officials are expecting strong numbers for salmon in Puget Sound and in Washington rivers. But you won't find much – if any – Washington salmon at farmers markets. You'll be buying Alaskan fish instead.

That's because the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission (WFWC), which regulates the state's salmon fishery, has heaped restrictions on the industry. The result is limited opportunities for commercial fishers to go after salmon here. So limited, in fact, many drive their boats to Alaska, where fewer restrictions exist.

Sport fishers, the weekend anglers who catch fish for dinner, are gradually getting a higher percentage of the fishing permits that once belonged to small commercial fishers. These fishers claim there's a powerful—and curious—lobby pushing for these restrictions.

The latest battle is over the lower Columbia River. The WFWC voted in January to phase out gillnetting—the method many small commercial fishers rely on—in the main channel. Those gillnetters must switch to another net called a purse seine or fish the side channels. Sport fishers will get an increasingly higher percentage of the permits that once belonged to the gillnetters. The new restrictions don't apply to Native American tribes, who by treaty receive 50% of fishing permits.

Read the full story at Seattle Weekly>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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