Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Local fishing group to pursue nonprofit status


March 15, 2018

Northern Lynn Canal fishermen are starting a new organization after feeling like they don’t have a voice among Southeast Alaska gillnetters.

The newly formed Northern Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association will replace the former Lynn Canal Gillnetters Association in Haines, said board president Ryan Cook. He said the old organization wasn’t on the books as a state-recognized nonprofit.

Cook said less than half of about 470 permitted gillnetters in Southeast are members of the United Southeast Alaska Gillnetters Association out of Petersburg. He said that group doesn’t always well-represent the fishermen at the far north end of the canal.

“With only about 200 members, it’s not the voice of the whole fleet,” Cook said.

“We’re not happy with our representation,” said board member Daniel Martin. “We want a little more say.”

Board member Haynes Tormey said the Haines group will be a good channel for communication for fishermen in the area to discuss not only fish politics, but other topics like mining. Cook said the group plans to adopt a nonprofit status that will allow members or representatives to lobby.

“I didn’t know how political the fishing industry really is,” Cook said.

The association plans to recruit local fishermen and gillnetters from Haines, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka to join the organization. Members will pay $150 dues. Tormey said member strength can better position the group for success.

Other board members include Harry Rietze, Chris Olsen, Stuart DeWitt and Marty Smith. They plan to meet again in early April and host a membership recruitment event.


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