Southeast Alaska Salmon Fishermen Barred From Using Spotting Planes

Photo by Paul D. Atkins

The Alaska Board of Fisheries is in the process of voting on proposed fishing and hunting regulations. One such proposal that passed on Friday will bar Southeast Alaska’s commercial salmon fleet from using spotter aircraft.

KTOO Public Media had more on the decision:

Commercial fishermen are now banned from using spotter planes to track salmon in Southeast Alaska.

That’s following Friday’s 4-3 vote by the Board of Fisheries.

The spotter ban only goes into effect when an area is open for fishing.

Board member Al Cain said the vote was a difficult decision, but it boiled down to an issue of fairness.

“We heard one fisherman talking about leveling the playing field, so to speak, and so that the newer or beginning fishermen can compete,” Cain said at the meeting in Sitka. “Some of those descriptions were very compelling for me.”

Chairman John Jensen didn’t think aircraft made much difference in the age of smartphones.

“The thing that’s changed this fishery the most in the last 25 years is the advent of cell phones and TracPhones,” he said.

Coincidentally, a cell phone in the meeting hall began ringing. The minor disruption garnered chuckles from the public.