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

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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.

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