BOF will take up hatchery egg petition May 14

An emergency petition seeking to halt an increase in the number of pink salmon eggs taken in Prince William Sound has been added to the agenda of the Alaska Board of Fisheries teleconference meeting set for May 14.

“The board will have some analysis ready in time, so it is my hope that the board can address it at the May 14 meeting, said Glenn Haight,” executive director of the Alaska Boards of Fish and Game.

The petition from nine outdoor sport organizations filed with the Board of Fisheries seeks a delay in implementation of actions taken by the Prince William Sound regional planning team on April 19 to amend hatchery management plans to allow for an increase in the number of pink salmon eggs taken by 20 million.

In a statement issued by the Kenai River Sportfishing Association, the group said they want such action delayed until adequate consideration can be given to issues associated with the change.

The petition notes that 740 million pink salmon eggs were taken for rearing in Prince William Sound hatcheries in 2016, and that 643 million pink salmon fry of hatchery origin were released into the sound. They contend that release of additional hatchery produced pink salmon fry into marine waters of Prince William Sound would threaten the biological integrity of wild stocks of pink salmon in Lower Cook Inlet, and potentially alter fishing patterns in the inlet.