Thursday, March 29, 2012


February, 2008 SEAS Brailer Scoop mini-article

Fleet Consolidation Proceeds

In late December, 2007, Congress appropriated $235,000 to the National Marine Fisheries Service to establish a loan program for the Southeast Revitalization Association, with the ensuing loan not to exceed $23.5 million dollars.

In late January, 2008, the state of Alaska determined that the existing $2.88 million grant through the SSSF funds could go to a fully agreed upon program to do a reverse auction to achieve nearly a 10% reduction in permits prior to finishing up the remaining permits with the loan program through this coming fall and winter.

The Southeast Revitalization Association will be meeting soon and we will have concurrent discussions with the SEAS board at our annual SEAS Board meeting on March 1,2,3.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to call the SEAS office at (907)463-5080.



This is the history of why we'll be paying less than the 3%. Notice that the loan came through prior to the massive increase in pink and chum salmon prices. So the NMFS set up our 3% based upon .20 cent pinks and .30 cent chums. So long as prices stay higher than that, our interest rate will be commensurately lower.

So this talk about paying only 1% on this loan amount for the first round of fleet consolidation isn't poppycock. It's for real.



Just putting this old top 20 fleet reasons to support fleet consolidation post up again for edification, along with a reminder to vote YES for fleet consolidation.

Just a reminder in case some of you missed it.
While we talk about the 3% changing-- to a lower number-- it can NEVER be raised. Someone mentioned that to me recently as a concern. If we only get $1 worth of fish due to a cataclysmic event such as a SE wide oil spill or tsunami, we only pay 3 cents that year.

TOP 20 List

1. This round is already paid for. The 3% likely won't last past 2012. Even if it goes to 2013, we know we'll get it decreased after that year.It'll be 1% or slightly more if more rounds are voted in. Each round is voted separately so YOU can decide to just keep it at 1 round and minimize costs or go for another round.

AT this point it is a gimme. GEEZ.. SEAS got you back the 1% ASMI assessment for the 8 seasons we've fished since 2004 so this is technically a free buyback to get round one to 315 permits.

2. The 58 foot limit revocation is knocking on our door. The Board of Fisheries will vote it out regardless of what we do if we are unsuccessful in the fleet consolidation vote. (naturally SEAS will go back to the legislature to roll back any board action but this would be a much more tedious and uncertain route than just voting YES for the fleet consolidation)

Why does this matter? Well, here's why. Notwithstanding the new construction of seiners and the dozen or so Canadian boats that appear each summer on cue, the major increase in permits fishing from changing the 58 foot limit would mean that around 100 suitable, over 58 foot seiners would be available to come in the S01A fishery.

So for those arguing that buyback means nothing because boats aren't out there to come in? We have news for you.

3. 271. That was the CFEC number for 1974. Boldt decision made it 419 by sending more boats north. We aren't changing anything except for getting back to the number we should have been at in the first place. We began whittling the 419 down to the current 379 with the $2.88 million federal grant in 2008. This round will get us closer with 64 permits lowering the total permits to 315. With a couple dozen in pockets there will be only 285 or so ever fishing. That'll generate into savings for you as early as 2013 if the buyback passes. Our estimate of boats fishing in 2013 is 310 boats- for a savings of 8% in 2013 alone.

If the 58 foot change passes then there will be 350 boats in 2013 without a buyback.

4. ASSESSMENT is paid the most by those who catch the most. IF you skip a season you skip the assessment. IF you have a bad year, you get a break by not paying as much. This is about the highliners tax. The top 10% catch 35% of the fish and pay 35% of the tax. Last years top 3 boats would have all paid more than $45,000. What would you have paid last year.

5. Processor Pays. This comes off the fish ticket so the processor pays the assessment. Naturally this should translate into the processor figuring out the assessment and adjusting the price. But the bottom line is that the assessment will be a shared cost... not just paid for by the skipper or boat owner.

6. INTEREST RATE IS LOWEST SINCE WWII> Just a small reminder. Ironically just like home prices, the $205,000 average would be similar to a $130,000 average if we used rates from 6 years ago.

7. OPTIMUM # protection. IF there is a lawsuit, and there was against Sitka Sac Roe, and after 10 years they came up with.... you guessed it 51 permits ( there's 48 now) when there were 51 permits grossing $250,000 in a half hour. EVEN if we ever got rich and steady enough runs to add permits, after a decade of lawsuits, then the state of Alaska would pay us for those permits under HB484--- passed in 2006 by sponsor Peggy Wilson in the Alaska State Legislature.

8. STEADY COURSE. In the decade since starting this we've had only 2 seasons where the fleet made positive capital after expenses. Think about this. If you only seined, add you expenses in 2001-02-02-04 et. al and see how you could have made it. SEAS ED made it to 2003, then had to get a job, after being top boat in SE seine from 2000-2003. (Never been top since)

I know alot of you pride yourselves on your smart decision to have a 2nd job or lots of fisheries or a wife who has a good job. But WTF. Why should you take a risk on a summer with weather, travel and all the work you do to catch what should be enough fish to make a living on and still have to rely upon a host of other income producers. Seining is a job in itself. Other salmon fishermen, gillnet and troll, expect to make a family wage from salmon. Why shouldn't you?

9. New guys..Young guys. The best way to get and keep new skippers and crew is to have them make some money!! Why do we want to keep our young guys impoverished. I recall my first year, 1983, at age 19. It was a frigging mystery to me. The only way I made it was by watching what you all did. I know of more crew today who want to be skippers than 10 years ago when permit prices were 10 times cheaper. The consolidation plan plus the improved market is what is driving interest here.

Now we're looking at high crewshares and why shouldn't they be. They work hard.
The Fleet Consolidation program is for the young guys. If the assessment were in place my firsat 5 years I'd have paid 1/3 to 1/2 of what Leo Woods, George Hamilton, Roger Ingman, Ole Haynes, Joe Demmert, Greg Johns, Peter Babich, Rick Lindblom, Bud Marese, David Jones, Johnny Hinchman, Joe Lewis, David Street, Kurt Dobszinski or Chad Peterman would have paid. They would have paid to keep my lineups lower because, God knows, I wasn't competent to get in line with the likes of these guys.

10. Long Term. The buyback makes sense for the short term but especially for the longer term.

We will pay $10 a gallon for diesel in my lifetime-- it's $5 this summer guys in some ports.
When we get to the last gallon of diesel in a few decades, who is going to let us wait in fricking 19 boat lineups on lousy years? Ever see Iowa farmers waiting for 18 other John Deere tractors for 7 hours to get a shot at a row of corn. Come on guys, we are food harvestors. And as such we are a joke.

Just had to exceed the top ten so here's a few more.

11. The price factor: When the NMFS Financial Services Division estimated the pink and chum prices in order to determine our loan size, they used a price of 20 cents for pinks and 30 cents for chums. That's why all this hoopla about the substantially lower percentage assessment rate. Because the prices we're getting and will get in the future will be substantially larger by orders of magnitude than the prices that NMFS based this loan on.

This means that our 40 year loan could either be paid off in a half dozen years at these market conditions or that we could alternately drop the rate to the 1% that we've saved from ASMI these past 8 seasons. I'm with the dropping the rate crowd. Don't know about you.

12. The hatchery factor: While the past couple decades have produced approximately a hatchery component of your gross stock in the 30% range, we are now potentially facing a post Hidden Falls era as the hatchery produced 62,000 seine caught chums last year....slightly down from the 1 million average we've had the past couple decades. And the hatchery program- in the big picture- is on a decade long hiatus for major new production. Of course, we'll try to get a few more hatchery fish in select locations but it is becoming increasingly fragile in seiner hatchery land.-------------

13. The SE seiner seasonal disorder.

All summer long I hear from guys complaining about a new, funky looking boat at their traditional spot. Then the guy sets in front of you on the scoop and f---s up the haul.

Well it seems that this summertime energy is lost in the winter when we're all about being populists and wanting to have all of our buddies fish alongside us. One big happy family.

How do I know this? Because it happens to me. Especially happened to me for years before the light switch was turned on by the SEAS board. Heck I wasn't even on the SEAS board, let alone hired by SEAS, when this light turned on . I came along 2 years later and inherited this plan. And while it had to change due to the complexities of financing a state waters buyback with a federal program....... well, after my 8th year on the job and a decade of total SEAS time into this buyback I don't need to tell you just how difficult this had become.

Visualize that 4-5 boat lineup and wonder what you would have caught if it were just 2 or 3 of you.

14. The ADFG has a number of 280 where the entire management becomes more restrictive and we lose fishing time. Without a buyback we will be guaranteed to break the 300 mark by 2013 so we will immediately lose fishing time. There have been remarkable changes since 1974 in the efficiencies of the fleet and a further increase in efficiencies will make this fishery even more restrictive if there are more than 250 to 270 boats fishing. The inevitable 300 plus boat fleet will spell doom for your fishing time.

15. Professionalism. I can recall when the fleet was 380 boats. Some of the guys just came up with sea stores and had a party all summer on a cannery boat.

That was then.

This is now.

Now we are very careful in our conduct of the fishery and have alot more to watch out for with increasingly complex USCG reg's, ADFG reg's, complex marker and openings. A new or parttimer who doesn't know how to keep his fish cold hurts us all. A guy who breaks the law hurts us all. Heck, I remember being 19 and just going back to wherever I fished with Magnus because I couldn't even fathom going to a new area and figuring out where the lines where unless I went into the ADFG local office beforehand.

Without this buyback, you will see haymakers from Texas up here trying to coral humpies and they will not treat you nor the fishery with the respect you and the fishery deserve.

16. POLITICAL CLOUT. The post buyback fleet will be more Alaskan and will have more political clout. Just a fact. NO offense meant to anyone without a 574 or an AKLIC. SEAS wrestled with the political clout numbers game from 1984 through 2001, when we finally pulled the trigger on the fleet consolidation plan. In the final analysis, we determined that a couple hundred healthy skippers and seine operations were better than a hundred extra if that means we're all starving and trying to make a go of it.

And while the prices are obviously huge and stable for the foreseeable future, what is not at all apparent is what will happen to the run sizes. At anything under 30 million pinks we need a heck of alot of hatchery opportunities even to get to 2 on 2 off.

In 2010 we first went 2-2 on August 5th in half the districts.

In 2008 we first went 2-2 on August 12th

In 2006 we never went 2-2.

2012 will be somewhere in there. It's not going to be a great one. The Icy Strait fry outmigration predictor index for 2012 was one of the lowest on record. My prediction is 16 million. ADFG is 17 million. If there's no hatchery smash then we're fishing around 16-18 days this year. That's about half of last year. Half of last years fishing with 1/4 of the fish.

And so on these lousy years we'll be here. Us locals.
And when the runs get good at all there'll be a bunch of guys coming into the fishery from Cali, OR, False Pass, PWS and Kodiak.

And how much political clout does bringing in extra Cali or OR seiners give us in the Alaska State Legislature? Zero. Probably negative. No disrespect to those of you who choose to migrate up to fish each year. It's just a fact. How much do Cali and OR and WA think of us Alaskans when we come down to fish the Canal or Dungees or Sardines or Squid. Because we do. I doubt we're the reason the fisheries there stay politically intact.

17. Buyback will mean less marine mammal encounters. While we have an exemplary record of interactions, adding another hundred boats to the fleet would mean that our potential of encounters would increase by 40%.

The plain fact is that in the short time I've been fishing-- since 1977- and been going out on the boat- 1969- the number of humpback whales has increased by around 1000%.
I recall my first 2 week trip on the Pamela Rae in 1969 I counted 20 humpbacks-- including one albino or white whale. I also recall our pre MMPA response to Sea Lions and seals. It wasn't Neighbor Friendly.

We are a very alert fleet and have minimal encounters.

Let's keep it that way. Let's not bring 100 new guys in from outside and screw things up for us.

18. Less Lineups. Probably mentioned it somewhere in the body of this article.

19. NO LIMITS. The 2011 season, while bursting at the seams in 3rd week of July, produced no technical limits. Geographical limits, like running to town, lack of tender capacity, etc. were real but the processors did an admirable job of taking care of the fleet without having to put us on limit.

But there will always be Bristol Bay. And PWS. And there will be a time, especially with an extra bunch of boats, that we'll be on limit. Imagine what 2011 would have been like if we'd had 330 boats instead of 269.

Let's do the math. 61 boats. 80,000 lbs ea. 5 million pounds per day for 10 million extra lbs on the July 19-20 opener.

Don't think for one minute that you wouldn't have been on limit.

And then that 3% or 1% insurance policy would have paid off bigtime.


In 2004 there were 207 permits fished. In 2009, 255. In 2010, 235. In 2011, 269.

Notice a trend here. The buzz on the street is that there will be around 265 in 2012 due to the weak cycle and then 300 or more in 2013, unless the 58 foot limit gets lifted and there'll be a heck of alot more.

We need a steady number and a reliable number. WE cannot build business plans wondering if there will be 50 more guys showing up one year than the year before.


ps. guys. being seas ED doesn't make me a soothsayer on some of this stuff. But for those of you who don't think this fleet could massively expand, you just don't see the memberships and the permit transfers that cross my desk.

think about it. Just last year if you took awhile and counted, there were probably 30 boats that had never, ever been to SEAK. at that rate it ain't gonna take long to fill up SE with too many seiners.

Relimiting Limited Entry to the number we were supposed to be @

Another recycled article but since it was one of our most-read articles I thought it would be good to recycle this.

SEAS formally requests that the state of Alaska, CFEC, investigate the means and methods of initiating a buyback program to reduce the number of permits..."

This would return ..."economic vitality to the fleet."

"There are numberous reasons for the present economic condition... this fishery requires the highest capitalization costs for vessels, gear and operational expenses in the state."

SEAS believes that we 'have the smallest return on investment of any salmon net fishery in the state',

"Increased fleet efficiency... has increased dramatically. Through new and more efficient methods of gear recovery, advances in on-board electgronics, and extended holding capacity through refrigeration, skipers now have means to higher productivity."

"Also a number of more effective skippers in the highliner category have entered the fleet..."


Imagine that
How many of you were in SE in 1984. No one broke the million pound mark until 1989. No one broke the 2 million pound mark until 1996. No one broke the 3 million pound mark until 2011.

I know of not one boat that could have handled a million pounds in 1984, even if they were catchable.

I began running the Pamela Rae in 1983. It was one of the larger boats in the fishery. Sure isn't anymore.

There are many, many economic, stability, environmental, fuel economy, etc., reasons to have a buyback but simply put, our fleet has changed from the fleet we began with in 1974.

I hardly recognize 3/4 of the fleet from my first year in 1983.

And why? Because they weren't in the fishery.

Think on this list. The Jackie A, Binky, Veribus, Oregon City, Marysville, Floretta, Jerry O, Fidalgo 1 and 2, The Libby 6, 8 12, and the rest of the Libby boats, the old St Peter, Cherokee Maid, Mermaid, Sonar, Martlye, Peppermint John, New York.....

This is not the same fleet as the boats that replaced them. The replacement boats were 2-5 times bigger, more efficient, etc.

Even my old 1949 jalopy isn't at all the same boat as it was in 1983. Or 1984.

It's almost all new except for some planks and the keel. Double the horsepower. Skiff has 3 times the pulling power. Net is twice as heavy and big.

No GPS back then. Didn't have refrigeration until 1987, so had to go back to Petersburg every 2-3 days to get ice.

I know there are ideas out there that take time to catch and this is one but remember the massive reasoning that went behind this fleet consolidation program before you jettison the program because some a-hole put in a high bid or because you have some idea that we should just let everyone buy cheap permits to get their feet on the ground.

If that's the case, then let's throw all the permits out the door and while we're at it, we can jettison the IFQ program as surely we should level the playing field for all fisheries while we're at it.
Of course we do not believe the preceding paragraph to be true but think on it. Limited entry never was meant to be the be-all to end-all. Too many permits came out in the first iteration.
Too many for the fish.. Too many for the fishermen.

Now with all the changes SEAS witnessed from 1974-1984 as mentioned above, those seem diminuitive in comparison to the changes we've seen since that time.

The biggest and most productive 20-30 boats always catch their share whether the fleet is large or not. They have other fisheries to back them up even if they don't catch a single humpy.

But for the majority of the fleet, the average guy, the fleet consolidation provides a level playing field where a guy automatically has a market-- he's not bound to any single processor, if he doesn't like his price or the way he's being treated, he can go to another.

The average guy isn't up front on the reef with the tide running 3 knots and the wind blowing 50. He's in a 3-4 boat lineup, comfortably making a living in 2011.

How would that living have looked had there been 6-7 boats in that lineup.

The biggest and most productive 20-30 boats caught 40-55 million pounds of salmon worth 25 million dollars in 2011. So those 10% would be paying 25% of the buyback costs.

Thats one of the fairest parts of the 3% (which could drop to as low as 1.75% in future years, but can never be raised).---- that the guy who has a break down doesn't pay==the guy who has an off year doesn't pay as much.

The burden to pay for this thing comes from the highliners. The guys who would catch alot of fish and make alot of money anyways. They are paying for the average Joe to have a manageable sized fleet.



So, here goes. One of our own past board members and longtime loyal SEAS member-coming up on 30 years as a full paying SEAS member-- is Jim Zuanich. SEAS E.D. admits to leaving out some of Jim's quotes in the Pacific Fishing Article by Amy Majors ( and if you have not read this, it's a must-- look back 6 or so articles on here.) And Jim recently emailed me, mildly chastising- and if you know Jim's positive nature that's double mild, I didn't really take any offense-- my approach to just be supportive of the SEAS Fleet Consolidation Plan. He felt that I should show both sides.

After Jim so aptly scolded me for my imbalance and determination not to devote my SEAS job to pointing out both sides of the buyback, John Peckham jumped right in there. Both of these guys were on the SEAS board and hired me to get them the buyback. But this is all the balance I could come up with. So here goes. The here's my personal TOP Ten Reasons to Vote No in the Buyback:
NOT: I'm being facetious here but I really couldn't come up with any good reasons to vote no other than these.

1. I would like a larger boat than 58 feet when the Buyback vote fails and the Board of Fish ratifies regulations that would permit boats up to 75 feet.

2. I'm getting old. Almost 50. I sometimes feel a need to slow down the young guys a bit and sit in lineups with them. With 100 more boats I could surely get a break every now and then, no matter where I am fishing in SE.

3. SEAS membership will certainly rise without a buyback. There are so many issues facing seiners today that only fishermen with their own organization have a chance at surviving. Don't believe it, good luck when it's your turn to give up some beach and you have no one there to support you.

4. Boats will be cheap. With a bad winter or two ( as I say this the SEAS office official forecast for 2012- 4 months from now- is 16 million) we will end up in an overcapitalized cycle so I can get a boat cheaper than right now. Especially with no 58 foot limit.

5. Permits will be cheaper so there will be lots of opportunity for guys to stack permits to get the longer boats.

6. I wouldn't have to pay the tax. My tax last year would have been substantial. Oh. That's right. SEAS got me back the ASMI 1% tax to put in my pocket 8 seasons ago beginning with the 2004 season. So after the first year or 2 on this assessment we're going to be even money at around 1% and this round is free. But I still could just pocket the ASMI money PLUS the buyback assessment if I can help vote it down.

7. My fishery won't be controlled by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. Like we are involved in a Treaty and we fish in the Tongass, so we'll always be rubbing elbows with the Federal Government. This is just a simple loan like you'd get from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac for your house. Or FHA or whatever. Or VA. Does it mean they control your house? I don't think so. The state of Alaska manages the harvest of our salmon resource and always will.

8. I won't have to pay those down south guys for just losing their job in the big 2000's wipeout that we've all yet to completely recover from. This is a myth. But there are at least half of the list who were put out of work in the troubled times of 02-05.

9. I don't want to pay those dog-gone SEAS board members. Oh. 1 in 13 of the SEAS board sold a permit. And of the average permit holder, 63 of 366, or 1 in 6.

1 in 6 permit holders sell and 1 in 13 SEAS board members. Must have been some insider information with the average permit holder that they had over SEAS board members??

10. Young guys. I want to add 100 boats so that our young guys will get back to making 30 grand a year rather than the big money last summer. Geez. If the fishery makes the crew too much money, maybe some of them will become skippers. Let's keep this more of a social fishery, impoverished so that our kids can learn great life lessons while seining and preparing for a real, normal stable occupation.

have a good weekend

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Russell and Sven

Sven Stroosma- Voyager

I bought a permit in 1990 for $97,500. Shortly thereafter we got 8 to 12 cents a pound for pinks and permit values plummeted to 1/3 that value. The economic viability of the fishery went in the toilet and many fishermen lost their markets. There were too many of us available and we were forced to compete at the lowest prices possible. Many opponents of the buyback say it could cause permit prices to rise making it prohibitive for young people to buy in. Permit prices will go up-- So will the chances of a new operator to make a living because of less potential competition. Looking back, I like one of my son's chances in the next 10 years with a buyback a lot better than without one. I'm voting for it, I don't own two, if one of my boys buys in-- he'll pay more than I did-- I believe it will also be a better investment. Sven Stroosma.

Russell Cockrum-Viking Maid

Its a no brainer to vote for buyback. As a permit holder I plan to pass on the permit to my son. Why would I want to have him to try to make a living with 400 boats .......I was there way before 8 cents..... thats right 1.00 # we still had a tough go We can afford the 3% probably less to maintain the CPU we now enjoy.............really silly not to support something that will double the permit value........russ cockrum

Thanks for the input guys\\

I'll put em up as they come in over the coming weeks.


Sealaska must reverse position in letter to interior and agriculture secretaries

It is incumbent upon Sealaska Inc, to now apologize for their support of the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction petition , which mandated immediate and long term closures from Gardner to Hoonah , Hidden Falls hatchery, as well as Peril and Tenakee.

It's obvious that there was concern for the Angoon residents as well as the subsistence prioirty and that's understandable. But the economic destruction that would have taken place amongst other Sealaska members would have been monumental. The idea that Sealaska might be in the room, ensuring that the fish ladder is done and that we pursue enhancement at Hasselford and other location is welcomed.

The idea that after the apology and the reversal of Sealaska's position- so that Sealaska states it does not in this case nor in any future case support ETJ- after that we can work on sealaska and assisting in getting into the seafood processing business.

And we can work on a system to assist in getting permits into communities of fewer than 1500 residents that have been historically seining towns.

If you are a member of sealaska-please call in and let them know your opinion.

If you do business with sealaska or if you have leverage on your support of their lands bill weigh in.

See- I fish for sealaska part of the season.

So I'm not fishing for them until they do all of the above
If they do then I will also support Sealaska lands bill.

If they dont I quit fishing for them and oppose the Sealaska lands bill.


Monday, March 26, 2012


Before we run this, let's just say that for residents of SE Alaska, the RAC members , save from a few, did very little justice to commercial fisheries and their importance and interaction with our daily lives in SE Alaska. The seiner, Frank Wright, understood the area and no one else. NO one else lives or fishes the seine-subsistence lifestyle. The Pt. Baker gillnetter was probably the worst. And SEALASKA for getting involved to support this eggregious petition. There is no way that any single person besides Floyd Kookesh could have truly and honestly believed the Petition to shut down our fisheries.

This was an appalling miscarriage of justice that we await for the Federal Subsistence Board as well as the Secretary of Agriculture and Interior to overturn. Completely and swiftly.

bob thorstenson jr. Executive Director, SEAS

Recommendation on Kootznoowoo Petition for Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council

March 22, 2012


The Council met in concurrent session with the Federal Subsistence Board to hear the staff analysis and public testimony regarding the Kootznoowoo Inc. Petition for extraterritorial jurisdiction into Chatham Strait. The petitioner contends that management of commercial fisheries by the State of Alaska has interfered with sockeye salmon escapements and subsistence harvests in systems fished by residents of the City of Angoon, including the Eva, Hasselborg, Kanalku, Kook, and Sitkoh drainages, to such an extent as to result in a failure of the subsistence priority.

The following comments are the Council’s interpretation, summary and recommendations for action by the Secretaries.

Petition Requests:

The Kootznoowoo petition of May 10, 2010, requests Federal assertion of extraterritorial jurisdiction to restrict or close commercial fishing in marine waters of:

1) reserved Federal waters within and immediately surrounding Admiralty Island within the boundaries of Admiralty Island National Monument and Kootznoowoo Wilderness Area

2) reserved Federal waters three miles distant from the continental mainland and islands of Admiralty, Chichagof and Baranof

3) all marine waters and lands encompassed by “Angoon Territory,” the defined boundaries of which are based on past use and current ownership

The petition supplement of June 15, 2011, requests:

1) reducing the harvest area adjacent to Hidden Falls Hatchery

2) closing all fishing districts in Chatham, Icy, and Peril Straits during June, July and the first two weeks of August

3) that “Kootznoowoo’s rights, interests and quiet enjoyment of Federal lands and waters within Admiralty Island” be acknowledged, maintained and protected and that any current and continued enforcement efforts contrary to these be dismissed and discontinued.

Office of Subsistence Management Identification of Issues

Has State management of the commercial purse seine fishery interfered with subsistence fishing on Federal public lands and associated waters to such an extent as to result in a failure to provide the subsistence priority to Angoon residents. This issue can be separated into three distinct questions:

  1. Is there a Federal subsistence priority for Angoon residents?

  2. Does State management of the commercial purse seine fishery interfere with subsistence fishing on Federal public lands and associated waters?

  3. If there is interference, does it occur to such an extent as to result in failure to provide the subsistence priority to Angoon residents?

Council Findings:

There is no doubt that some sockeye salmon bound for streams used by residents of Angoon are intercepted by the commercial seine fishery operating in Chatham Strait. That is a reasonable conclusion because commercial fishery openings occur at the same time and in the same area where sockeye salmon of local origin are expected to migrate.

The total number or proportional contribution of sockeye salmon from these stocks to the Chatham Straits commercial fishery harvest is unknown. While the genetic stock database is generally complete, the commercial catch is not sampled for wild stock contributions.

The sockeye salmon streams in the local area are generally small in size with limited potential to provide for subsistence needs. In recent years, escapements in each of these five streams have likely been less than required to allow for returns within the natural range of sockeye production. Low estimates of sockeye fry densities and high estimates of prey species in the lakes support additional adult escapements. It is also likely that the demand for a 250 sockeye salmon per household annual limit for subsistence users will remain unfulfilled when adequate escapements are attained.

The geographic distribution of these streams force residents of Angoon to travel long distances over open waters to access the terminal areas of the five sockeye systems in question.

Subsistence fishing at these five systems occurs primarily in marine and intertidal waters near the mouths of these streams. There is little evidence of significant harvest in streams above the high tide mark. It appears that in addition to vagaries in natural production, management of the State mixed stock commercial seine fishery has the greatest effect on the State managed subsistence fishery in the terminal areas.

Critical habitat needs to be identified and addressed. Streams should be monitored each season, prior to sockeye returns to ensure that any blockages are removed. The Council supports the planning process currently in place to modify the natural barrier at Kanalku Lake. The falls will be altered to facilitate passage of sockeye salmon into the lake. Spawning areas need to be evaluated for quantity and quality. Some spawning areas are in need of rehabilitation.

Response to Questions Posed by the Office of Subsistence Management:

Question 1:

The Federal Subsistence Board has determined that residents of Angoon have a positive customary and direct dependence upon salmon returning to the five lakes under consideration (Eva, Hasselborg, Kanalku, Kook, and Sitkoh) as a mainstay of livelihood and have a subsistence priority.

Question 2:

The commercial purse seine fishery in Chatham Strait is a mixed-stock fishery; sockeye salmon system specific harvest data is limited, but based on Kanalku Lake and Kook Lake sockeye salmon escapements and seine harvest diagrams (Figures 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 5C from the staff analysis) the staff report summary states, “It appears more likely than not that the commercial purse seine fishery is reducing the number of sockeye salmon returning to Federally managed waters”. The Council supports this conclusion.

Question 3:

Sockeye salmon migrate to spawn within the exterior boundaries of the Tongass National Forest. Federal nexus extends into the marine waters of Southeast Alaska. Sockeye salmon subsistence fisheries at Eva, Hasselborg, Kanalku, Kook, and Sitkoh Lakes have historically occurred primarily in State waters and these fisheries are managed by the State. Subsistence sockeye salmon fisheries occur adjacent to Federal public land and on Federal public land. Sockeye salmon rear and return to spawn on Federal public land. Although there is interference, the proportion of fish harvested on Federal public land and the extent of this interference to the Federal fishery has yet to be determined. Based on public testimony, subsistence needs by the residents of Angoon are not being met at Kanalku Lake and this condition has failed to provide for the subsistence priority of Angoon residents.


The Council suggests that the resolution of ownership of marine waters is not a requirement to address the question of whether there is a meaningful subsistence priority for the harvest of sockeye salmon on Federal public land by the residents of Angoon.

The Council feels strongly that the resolution of the questions and concerns contained within the petition is not a Secretarial responsibility alone. The ultimate solution will require cooperation between the State of Alaska, the Federal Subsistence Program and local communities.


Defer extending Federal jurisdiction into waters of Chatham Straits, as recommended by the petition, for three years. Deferring action by the Secretaries to extend Federal jurisdiction into the marine waters of Chatham Strait will provide an opportunity for the State of Alaska, the Federal subsistence management program, and local residents and organizations to achieve the following milestones and management actions. The Council believes these actions will address the issues raised by Kootznoowoo Inc. and facilitate a solution developed at the local level.

Amend the Northern Southeast Alaska Seine Fishery Management Plan and the Hidden Falls Hatchery Management Plan to include accommodations for the State and Federal subsistence fisheries.

Close the commercial seine fishery areas in regulation that have been closed by State Emergency Order near Basket Bay and Kootznoowoo Inlet.

The Federal subsistence program and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will assist the community of Angoon in developing a regulatory proposal for the State Board of Fish at the next regular cycle to change the Amounts Necessary for Subsistence finding to a community level rather than a Juneau management area designation.

It is advantageous for evaluation of the success of the management plan if escapement goals for Kanalku, Kook, Sitkoh, Hasselborg, and Eva Lakes are developed. Genetic stock identification programs and escapement goal studies by the State of Alaska in cooperation with the Federal subsistence management program will be implemented within three years.

The Federal subsistence program contact and cooperate with Kootznoowoo Inc. concerning the application of ANILCA.

The Council requests the Secretary provide annual progress reports to the Council and the Subsistence Board regarding these recommendations.

UFA Letter to SE RAC

March 20, 2012
Southeast Regional Citizens Advisory Committee
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Subsistence Management
3601 C St., Suite 1030
Anchorage, AK 99503

Dear Southeast Regional Advisory Committee Members,

United Fishermen of Alaska is the largest statewide commercial fishing trade association,
representing 37 commercial fishing organizations participating in fisheries throughout the state and its
offshore federal waters, and hundreds of individual fishermen.
UFA has a longstanding policy of supporting the Board of Fisheries process. Many
of Alaska’s commercial fishermen and UFA’s members are also federally qualified subsistence users
of fish and wildlife. We stand united across the state in our support of the Board of Fisheries process
and State management and in opposition to federal intervention through extraterritorial jurisdiction in
any waters of Southeast Alaska.
Although this is a long, complicated topic, especially concerning the Kanalku Lake sockeye system,
which had its first dynamite blasting for fish passage in 1968, we would like to briefly make a few
points to clarify our position on the issue of Kootnzawoo, Inc.'s petition.

1. There is no basis for a claim. The state of Alaska manages state waters fisheries. Both the
Chatham Strait purse seine fishery and the local Chatham Straits subsistence fishery are state
waters fisheries. There has been no interference with a Federal subsistence fishery.

2. The sockeye systems in Chatham Strait have been in good shape in the past decade with the
exception of Kanalku, which has experienced the most robust rebound to the two largest
years that have ever been counted in the history of Angoon- 2009 and 2010.
2009 and 2010 provided excellent examples of why seine fleet harvest isn't an issue with the health of
Kanalku or the other sockeye systems in Chatham Strait. In 2009, the seine fleet fished one of the
highest boat days ever in the Angoon region. In 2010, the seine fleet fished zero days in the Angoon
region. The return to Kanalku both years exceeded 3000 sockeye; clearly the intensity of seine effort
in the area did not affect the return of Kanalku sockeye.

3. There has never been a single Kanalku sockeye salmon tagged or otherwise marked identified
as having been harvested by a seiner. Not one.

4. The USFS permitted logging to the creek at Kook Lake. A recent survey found that
streamside erosion associated with logging had caused a large log to fall into the creek and
completely block passage of sockeye.

5. The Kanalku system needs a fish ladder. The USFS has documented that up to 70% of the
sockeye die in some years between the creek and the lake. Obviously years of lower
hydraulic pressure, such as 2009 and 2010, result in less fish loss than the years of higher
water flows, but there is still a major need for fish passage. The USFS aptly documented this
with a study in 2011.

6. Ironically, just as Kook Lake fell victim to a log blockage of the cavern (Kook Lake services
an underground sockeye stream that can be entirely blocked by logs or woody debris),
Kanalku also had a major logjam issue about a decade ago. Local residents claim it took
over a year to remove the log that was blocking sockeye passage.

This is a specious and confrontational petition without merit. UFA asks that you dispose of this issue
and move along to other management or social issues on which we can work together in the great
Until the Board of Fisheries decisions are shown to interfere with federal subsistence priority, there is
simply no legal basis for bypassing state management in Alaska’s salmon fisheries.
The Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has the authority to make emergency
orders to change the regulations during the season or to make changes for the future.
Only after the state’s authority and ability to manage its fisheries has been scientifically proven to
interfere with the subsistence fishing priority would justification exist for federal intervention. Such
federal intervention would be likely to affect hundreds or even thousands of individuals who work in
fishing and seafood processing jobs in the affected area.
United Fishermen of Alaska feels that there is no compelling factual or scientific reason at this time to
justify the unprecedented and drastic imposition of federal extraterritorial jurisdiction. Extraterritorial
jurisdiction is an extreme measure to be considered only as a last resort when all other measures to
ensure subsistence harvests have failed. Alaska’s system of fisheries management has an unsurpassed
reputation and serves as a model for the world. As the world leader in fisheries management, the
State of Alaska should be given deference to manage its resources until it has been proven to have
failed in its obligations to federal subsistence users.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide our comments on this most serious issue.
Mark Vinsel
Executive Director

Friday, March 23, 2012

Regional Panel recommends against Angoon petition

Regional panel recommends against Angoon petition

by Ed Schoenfeld, CoastAlaska News
March 23, 2012 11:37 am

Text-size A A A Print Article



Subsistence Regional Advisory Council Chairman Bert Adams presents recommendations as Kootznoowoo's Peter Naoroz, left, and seiner Bob Thorstenson listen. Ed Schoenfeld photo.

A regional group advising the Federal Subsistence Board says it should wait before considering a petition to change management of some fisheries near Angoon.

The Southeast Alaska Subsistence Regional Advisory Council made its recommendation during a meeting in Juneau today (Friday).

Kootznoowoo Incorporated petitioned the statewide subsistence board to push for a federal takeover of the purse seine fishery in northern Chatham Strait. The village Native corporation said that would increase subsistence sockeye salmon harvests.

The Regional Advisory Council recommended trying out other methods of boosting the catch first. Bertrand Adams Sr. of Yakutat chairs the council.

“We found that it would be very difficult to extend extraterritorial jurisdiction in the areas that Angoon is concerned about, because it was not only going to affect those areas, but other areas as well, such as Kake and Hoonah,” said Adams.

The council recommended waiting three years before deciding on Kootznoowoo’s petition. That would give state, federal, commercial fishing and Angoon leaders time to find an alternative solution.

Kootznoowoo Board Chairman Floyd Kookesh, an advisory council member, said the recommendation is incomplete.

“One of the things we really have been really struggling with is having the state and federal governments working together. And that’s what we’re looking forward to seeing happen. And we’re doing this not just to create friction, but to make it better for the subsistence user and Angoon,” Kookesh said.

The advisory council did recommend reexamining management plans for the area’s seine fishery and the nearby Hidden Falls hatchery. And it called for studies and regulatory changes to increase Angoon’s sockeye catch.

The Federal Subsistence Board deliberated the issue today (Friday). Its recommendation will be sent to the Interior and Agriculture Departments. But it will not be made public.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Deckboss on Angoon and Comments

Southeast seiners face a subsistence fight

The Federal Subsistence Board, at a meeting set for March 21-23 in Juneau, will consider a petition seeking to close or curtail commercial salmon fishing in Southeast Alaska.

Kootznoowoo Inc., the Native corporation for the village of Angoon, submitted the petition to the federal government.

The petitioner asks the feds to exercise "extraterritorial jurisdiction" to protect the subsistence priority for Angoon residents. It contends the state-managed commercial fisheries have interfered with subsistence fishing for sockeye.

Kootznoowoo wants commercial fisheries in the waters around Angoon closed or restricted. This includes fishing districts in Chatham, Icy and Peril straits.

The Native corporation also recommends reducing the harvest area adjacent to Hidden Falls Hatchery, located across Chatham Strait from Angoon.

In advance of the meeting, the Federal Subsistence Board has posted a staff report that looks at the petition, area salmon runs, Angoon subsistence practices and fishery management.

The report concludes by saying "not enough information" is available to know if a total closure of commercial purse seine fisheries would meet all of Kootznoowoo's stated needs.

The report adds, however, that it "appears more likely than not that the commercial purse seine fishery is reducing the number of sockeye salmon returning" to federally managed waters.

To see Kootznoowoo's petition and supplement, go to the Federal Subsistence Board website.