Jumbo argument coming on shrimp?

The Alaska Board of Fisheries will consider dozens of shellfish proposals during its meeting Tuesday through Saturday at the Hilton Anchorage.

Deckboss has reviewed the list and is particularly intrigued with four proposals on the commercial shrimp pot fishery in Prince William Sound.

The makers of proposals 358, 359, 360 and 361 all want to see the fishery shut down.

They contend commercial shrimpers actually lose money on the fishery, and that continuing the harvest will crash the stock to the detriment of sport and subsistence shrimpers.

All involved target spot shrimp, or prawns, a very large and tasty variety.

The commercial fishery was closed for 18 years due to low abundance.

It reopened in 2010, and again in 2011, producing catches of 45,349 pounds and 52,694 pounds respectively.

State figures show 75 vessels participated in the fishery in 2010, and 44 vessels in 2011.

As for noncommercial harvest, well in excess of 3,000 permits were issued in both 2010 and 2011, with an estimated take of 87,699 pounds and 59,182 pounds respectively.

The commercial harvest worries the proposal authors. They want the board to put a stop to it.

"Prince William has been a great place for friends and families to go do some shrimping and that is going to go away," writes Mike Crawford, in proposal 361. "The value of the resource is much higher for the noncommercial use than the $200,000 that the commercial fishery is worth."

Unless the commercial fishery is halted, adds Jeff Benkert, in proposal 359, the Sound will "become the desert" it was before.

The Department of Fish and Game, in a February management report, said "survey results for 2011 suggest that spot shrimp abundance remains high relative to recent years."

This year's commercial shrimp pot season is set to open April 15 with a 51,240-pound quota.

Fish and Game says it's neutral on what it terms the "allocative proposals."