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Extension of scallop fishery permit system draws unexpected opposition

Objections have arisen to a proposed 5-year extension of the limited-entry system for the Alaska scallop fishery because of concerns about a concentration of state and federal permits in a Washington-state-based partnership, reports the Alaska Journal of Commerce.

When [Senate Bill 54] was introduced by Resources Committee Chair Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, in February, it would have extended the program by 10 years until 2023. Before the bill was introduced, discussion revolved around making it permanent.

The concerns have arisen because a small group of partners from Washington led by Jim Stone of Lakewood have come to control virtually the entire scallop harvest valued at about $4.5 million in 2012.

The Deckboss blog adds that the weathervane scallop fishery is also controversial because it is the only one in Alaska in which permits are associated with vessels instead of fishermen. 

Above all, scallop players don't want to see state limited entry expire after this year. This would allow the state waters to revert to open access, and would be bad for the fishery overall, in the view of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Read more at the Alaska Journal of Commerce: Shell game: State scallop fishery faces scrutiny