Subsistence-Only Herring Zones Proposals Fail in Sitka

Two proposals to establish subsistence-only zones for herring in Sitka Sound failed to win recommendation from the Sitka Fish & Game Advisory Committee in a contentious meeting last week.

Subsistence harvesters say the commercial seine fishery is having a negative effect on their ability to gather herring eggs on hemlock branches, which is a traditional food for Southeast Natives.

Every three years, the state Board of Fish reviews how herring are managed. When the board meets in February, it will consider some proposals designed to address the conflict between subsistence users and seiners, and find some compromise.

But if testimony at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Sitka Fish and Game Advisory Committee is any indication, compromise will not be easy.

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Ed Ronco is a reporter at KCAW in Sitka.

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