It’s encouraging to see the Kenai City Council’s efforts on the issue of dipnet waste in a recent workshop. An aggressive solution is needed to help with what has become a burden for our beaches to support.
Fish waste is a problem on numerous fronts — it’s not really pleasant, probably isn’t doing any good rotting in the sun on the beach and certainly isn’t deterring the massive seagull flock from swarming the area.
Plus, we think if you value something, you should keep it clean.
We’d give thumbs up to the city’s idea of adding Dumpsters on beaches and raking fish waste at low tide to have it swept out into the ocean where it supports the ecosystem. While we know it isn’t a complete fix to the problem, it’s a reasonable start.
Some residents were in favor of the option that would have dipnetters take their whole fish home with them. At first glance that sounds awfully nice, but on further consideration problems surface.
Many dipnetters from other areas of the state won’t want to haul all those fish home whole — too much bulk and mess. So if they can’t clean them on the beach they’ll do it somewhere else and it won’t be at home in Anchorage or Wasilla. Who in their right mind would haul a whole, slime-covered fish three or more hours home to have to deal with it there?
They are going to find the next easiest solution. That fish waste will end up dumped along the side of the highway, in local Dumpsters and pretty much anywhere that would be a worse place to put it than the beach. It doesn’t solve the problem; it just spreads it out.
And we don’t want a police state out on the beach. That’s no fun.
But maybe a few years of being proactive about the waste could change some attitudes. Clearly it has already begun working as evidenced by the council’s action and the community’s support.
The solution here is to make properly disposing of the waste as easy as possible.