Many of the players and stakeholders in Southeast Alaska’s salmon and herring fisheries laid out their positions Tuesday morning (2-24-15), as the Alaska Board of Fisheries opened its spring meeting to public testimony.


Although the board had already received detailed, written comments on the 107 management proposals, it is in the oral testimony that most people’s concerns and frustrations really emerge.


It did not take long for the central conflicts to emerge Tuesday morning, as fishermen, tender operators, and subsistence users offered their views to the Board of Fish in public testimony.


One ongoing dispute is between commercial and sport fishermen targeting Taku River king salmon near Juneau. Steve Merritt, a commercial salmon fisherman from Craig, thought it was premature to restrict the troll harvest of Taku River kings.


“Despite what the Territorial Sportsmen say, there is no crisis on the Taku, and it is not rapidly declining. Consistency is important.”


Merritt told the board that there was a “hidden evil” in proposal 174, which would create a Taku king salmon management plan — a deliberate effort to push trollers off of Taku kings, despite a good faith effort to work with sport fishermen.


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