ROC the Kenai message needs to be spread

We think everyone can agree theROC the Kenai group has an admirable idea, but it is time for their message — Respect Our Community — to get to the next level.

Spreading messages about proper fish carcass and trash disposal and respecting the area throughout the dipnet fishery isn’t easy, but all the ingredients for positive change are present.

We have a problem: massive amounts of litter and fish waste lingers on the Kenai and Kasilof beaches with no clear and easy disposal method during the dipnet fishery.

We have an agent of change: the ROC the Kenai volunteer group started by Courtney Stroh is passionate about the issue.

But these youth are frustrated when they have to tell dipnetters they really don’t know where to put the sockeye discards either.

Simply throwing fish in the water leaves them back on the beach at the next tide, throwing the fish waste elsewhere is littering, and transporting waste in bulk to the landfill or transfer station comes with its own challenges. So what now?

Doing nothing certainly won’t help the mess at the mouth of the river.

ROC the Kenai doesn’t have major funding to put in motion its big idea — barging the fish waste out into Cook Inlet where it won’t wash ashore again. Perhaps that’s an idea for oversight agencies to consider. There’s only so much that volunteers armed with trash bags and gloves can handle.

It is time to listen a little more closely to the ideas of these youth who have been out on the beaches helping mitigate the situation. The dipnet fishery isn’t getting any less popular and waiting for a post-season cleanup of the beaches seems long away in the last week of July.

In short: We applaud the ROC the Kenai group for helping with something they feel passionately about. It is not often you see so much effort to clean up a mess left by others. We also urge local politicians, state agencies, governments, dipnetters and residents to listen to the group’s recommendations — they could lead to better in-season dipnet waste management. Everyone can agree clean and healthy beaches and rivers benefit all.

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