Coast Guard Works to Promote Safe Sitka Herring Fishery

Juneau, Alaska — The Coast Guard will offer courtesy dockside examinations of commercial fishing vessels in Sitka in anticipation of the 2008 Sitka Sound Herring Sac Roe fishery, which is slated to begin next week.

Fishermen can sign up for an exam starting Sunday, March 17, by calling Sitka Marine Safety Detachment Supervisor, Chief Warrant Officer Scott Durrer, at (907) 966-5454, or by speaking directly with one of the Coast Guard examiners working in Sitka’s harbors. Vessels participating in the opener will have priority in scheduling, though operators of other commercial fishing vessels may request courtesy dockside exams as well.

The courtesy dockside examination program offers fishermen an opportunity to work with Coast Guard representatives to ensure that their vessels meet Federal safety regulations. The examiners will not issue fines or other penalties for any problems they discover at the dock. Each vessel that passes a dockside exam earns a decal. Fishermen operating vessels with recently-issued decals benefit by being less likely to have to suspend fishing operations to accommodate an at-sea Coast Guard law enforcement boarding.

Historically, multiple collisions have occurred during the Sitka Sound Herring Sac Roe opener due to the limited time and space the participants have to fish. Coast Guard enforcement assets will be on scene for each opener to ensure the safety of all vessels working on the water.

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