Over two days (March 10, 11) seventy people testified on herring, most on one side or the other of the six most-contested herring proposals. This note put an end to debate, and the Board of Fish moved on without voting. (BOF image)

Note: This story will be updated, as more information becomes available.

The Alaska Board of Fisheries on Saturday did not vote on three proposals from the Sitka Tribe of Alaska that could have curtailed the commercial herring harvest in Sitka. But neither did the board vote on three issues backed by the commercial fishing industry that could have limited the subsistence harvest of herring eggs.

The six proposals were withdrawn in a handwritten letter to the Board of Fish, signed by representatives of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and by the industry group, the Southeast Herring Conservation Alliance. The note read, “The undersigned hereby withdraw proposals 156-161.”

Afterward, tribal subsistence advocate Louise Brady met with media in Anchorage to share her frustration with the Board of Fish process.

“I don’t think that the board is an effective forum,” said Brady, “because we are not a user group. This has nothing to do with economics, it has to do with human rights. Right now, we don’t have access to a more appropriate venue. But we will. We will someday. And we’ll take everybody’s testimony out and everybody’s working. It will matter to someone. It matters to us. It matters to the herring, most importantly.”

The Tribe has had some success litigating the issue in Superior Court. Brady, and other subsistence advocates who testified before the Board, suggested that it was covered under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.