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KRSA cause conflict in our community

Posted: April 29, 2013 - 1:20pm

A recent opinion piece in the Clarion by Ricky Gease, Executive Director for Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA), claimed to enlighten us on two different issues in a “fact based and truthful” manner when in fact they were neither. Instead, he chose the route of misinformation intended to mislead our community into believing their recent lobbying efforts to oust Board of Fisheries (BOF) member, Vince Webster of Naknek, were justified. KRSA’s actions in this regard were sleazy at best and further illustrate how far this organization will go to maintain control over all aspects of fisheries management on the Kenai River and Upper Cook Inlet.

In retrospect, I suspect Mr. Webster was probably too honest and knowledgeable for KRSA’s liking. They claimed that the main reason for wanting him gone was that he voted to support the new Kenai River Late-Run Chinook escapement goals and advocated for a lower OEG in times of low abundance presented by the BOF Task Force he co-chaired. When in actuality, all seven members of the BOF voted unanimously to accept the department’s escapement goal recommendations and while co-chairing the Task Force, Mr. Webster stated several times that a lower OEG would probably not be acceptable. The Task Force acted on its own and as Co-Chair he was not part of the vote. The simple truth is that they wanted him off the BOF because he was one of the members they couldn’t find a way to control.

This op-ed also claimed that the new lower end adjustment of the Late-Run escapement goal from 17,800 down to 15,000 was bad for the resource and an attempt by the department to provide more fishing opportunity for commercial fishermen. This is simply not true, but it makes for a good sound bite to further vilify the commercial fishing industry. The facts are that Department scientists recognized the necessity to convert these numbers to be more reflective of the actual counting differences in transitioning to a technically improved sonar system. The old split-beam sonar counts were biased high because they counted too many Sockeye as Kings and the new Didson sonar is supposed to eliminate much of this duplicity and give a more accurate count of actual Kings passing by, thus producing a lower count but relative to the old sonar numbers historically calculated. It had nothing to do with allocations to any particular user group.

KRSA is an advocate for the guided sport fish industry with an agenda to eliminate commercial fisheries from Cook Inlet to perpetuate and advance their cause. Their bullying tactics, in this regard, are cause for a lot of conflict and economic uncertainty within our community and completely uncalled for.

KRSA has also been instrumental in keeping the BOF meetings in Anchorage because they know private anglers and other users, without a financial iron in the fire, cannot afford to attend, thus they can control the outcomes of regulatory changes with the barrage of individuals and consultants they can afford to send. This political maneuvering has also cost our local businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years in lost revenue they could have derived if some of the meetings were hosted in our area.

Guiding/tourism and commercial fishing are both valuable assets to our economic structure and an important part of our community lifeblood. It is important that they work together on harvest allocations and resource protection. It will probably not happen though as long as we have one aggressive entity, such as KRSA, that strives to control all outcomes for the benefit of one segment of our community based on the destruction of another.

Their current business model is causing too much friction in our community and pits guides against private anglers and sport fishermen against commercial fishermen. It doesn’t have to be this way and is unacceptable. We should all be able to work together to resolve our fishery issues.

Local mayors, politicians, administrators, chamber of commerce’s and businesses leaders should weigh their relationships with KRSA until they change various aspects of their business model to project a more respectful nature. Right now they are not very well liked in their own community. Money and power aren’t as important as how you treat your neighbors and fellow citizens.

Dwight Kramer is a “Joe Fisherman” private angler and concerned resource user who has fished the Kenai River since 1983. He was a sportfishing representative on the Upper Cook Inlet Task Force.

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Roger104
137
Points
Roger104 04/29/13 - 05:58 pm
7
1
KRSA harms our resource

Thank you Mr. Cramer for your thoughful and accurate account of the facts. Thanks also for your efforts and dedication to our resource. I cannot imagine how much more damage to our resource these sleazebags would have caused by now if people like you didn't stand up to them.

Keen-eye
36
Points
Keen-eye 04/29/13 - 07:13 pm
5
1
Thank you Mr. Kramer for

Thank you Mr. Kramer for providing some insight into KRSA's questionable behavior. Their tactics of leveling untruths, innuendos, and misinformation toward honest, hardworking, Alaskans trying to make positive changes collaboratively with various user groups is disgusting.
By the way, this is the same group that eavesdropped on a private teleconference of the United Fisherman Association discussing the Board of Fish appointee scheduled to fill the seat vacated by Bill Brown.
Think about this for a moment. How many people would stand for a third party listening uninvited to their private conversations? This is the group that claims to represent private anglers.

Suss
3910
Points
Suss 04/29/13 - 07:15 pm
7
1
Thanks Dwight

You have given tirelessly of yourself and shown your stewardship of our fishing resources time and time again. I admired your fairness, logic and temperament when you represented the public with your position as chairman of the Kenai/Soldotna Fish and Game Advisory Committee. I know you have done your best against a well funded and duplicitous group that has never dealt with facts they could not twist to turn a buck. This organized toxic cult caused more friction amongst good people to foster socially negative strife to further their own greed. The KRSA is not Alaskan it is corporate money chasing more corporate money. There is no end to the greed and power grubbing of this poisonous group.

Keen-eye
36
Points
Keen-eye 04/29/13 - 07:15 pm
3
1
Thank you Mr. Kramer for

Thank you Mr. Kramer for providing some insight into KRSA's questionable behavior. Their tactics of leveling untruths, innuendos, and misinformation toward honest, hardworking, Alaskans trying to make positive changes collaboratively with various user groups is disgusting.
By the way, this is the same group that eavesdropped on a private teleconference of the United Fisherman Association discussing the Board of Fish appointee scheduled to fill the seat vacated by Bill Brown.
Think about this for a moment. How many people would stand for a third party listening uninvited to their private conversations? This is the group that claims to represent private anglers.

Keen-eye
36
Points
Keen-eye 04/29/13 - 07:15 pm
3
1
Thank you Mr. Kramer for

Thank you Mr. Kramer for providing some insight into KRSA's questionable behavior. Their tactics of leveling untruths, innuendos, and misinformation toward honest, hardworking, Alaskans trying to make positive changes collaboratively with various user groups is disgusting.
By the way, this is the same group that eavesdropped on a private teleconference of the United Fisherman Association discussing the Board of Fish appointee scheduled to fill the seat vacated by Bill Brown.
Think about this for a moment. How many people would stand for a third party listening uninvited to their private conversations? This is the group that claims to represent private anglers.

akkindgirl
41
Points
akkindgirl 04/29/13 - 09:11 pm
5
1
Thank you Mr. Kramer!

Keep getting the word out for us locals without agendas who actually are smart enough to know first hand the conflict they are causing in our community.

KMarx
181
Points
KMarx 04/30/13 - 06:34 am
4
1
Board of Fish

Mr. Kramer, you should be the Governor's nominee to fill the vacancy caused by the detestable behavior of KRSA

Carver
1133
Points
Carver 04/30/13 - 10:05 am
6
1
Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

Thanks, Dwight, very good article.

KRSA has been a self-serving, divisive presence in our community since its inception. KRSA's sleaze continues even here with accusations like "Mr. Kramer and other commercial fishing interests."

Even now, even here they post and re-post their nasty accusations in a silly attempt to derail the negative comments of their neighbors.

Have at it, KRSA, you've posted your tripe twice now in this thread—how many more times?

KRSA's goal has always been that all Kenai kings must and should be devoted to the in-river sport-fishery and the destruction of Cook Inlet's gill-net industry is the best means to that end.

Bad neighbors indeed.

borninak
657
Points
borninak 04/30/13 - 10:29 am
5
1
No Mention of Webster?

Funny that KRSA responds here but says nothing about the Vince Webster hatchet job. That's because they have no answer to their sleazy politics and know full well there isn't much they can say because they have been exposed to the public now. Obviously, whoever writes letters for them isn't very intelligent because they just keep regurgitating the same old drivel and referencing their own website blog misinformation as if that amounts to some kind of scientific reference. The smoke screen is getting old and the public is getting wise to it. Kind of like how they pay "biologists" to testify at board of fish meetings because they don't like ADF&G's biology. KRSA, why don't you focus on doing some real Kenai River conservation like limiting guides, bank erosion, and solving turbidity problems? Your only objective is obviously to eliminate commerical fishing in Cook Inlet and turn the Kenai River into an in river commercial fishery circus. That's some kind of conservation organization you have going.

cormit
230
Points
cormit 04/30/13 - 12:21 pm
5
1
KRSA is not communities friend

KRSA's ultimate goal to eliminate commercial fishing in Cook Inlet is not a solo effort. Anti - com fish interests in the Mat Valley share this vision with KRSA. This quid pro quo relationship between the Valley and KRSA is more than obvious ..... you help us get rid of set netters and we'll help you get rid of drifters.

Last years in river guided fishery took a pretty hard hit with low king salmon return driven management. This cost the local economy plenty. But it may part of a long term but temporary strategy of attrition to cripple the east side set netters, who's shutdown also cost the local economy dearly.

The Cook Inlet commercial fishing industry is infrastructure dependent. Destroy the profit potential for processors and other support businesses ...... and the fishery will collapse and the reinvestment dollars needed to bring it back may be very unlikely.

As I've mentioned before ... the community should be very concerned about the loss of these fisheries and the money generated by them locally. The Mat Valley would love nothing more than to redirect the income from all combined salmon resources into their own economy.

Still don't care? We have an exceptionally diverse economy here on the peninsula ..... better than some other parts of our state ..... and if we take it for granted ..... it will go away. Many of the businesses that have invested here can go away as quick as they came. Then we can all go back to driving to Anchorage for our needs ...... and employment too.

Carver
1133
Points
Carver 04/30/13 - 11:04 am
4
1
Bad, bad policy . . bad neighbors . .

In April, 2007, Bob Penny told the House Committee on Economic Development and Trade. ". . you put the fish in the river, and you put the fish in the inlet, and you give the opportunity for the public you'll see the economic engine run hard."

That was six years ago. Poor Bob, poor KRSA couldn't foresee the coming recession, couldn't foresee the demise of trophy-size "hawgs" and "she-pigs," couldn't foresee the current decline in King returns. But has their goal to destroy Cook Inlet's commercial fishing industry changed?

Our area needs, as never before, as broad an economic base as is possible. We do not need people advocating the destruction of an entire local industry simply to pander to one, selfish user group.

AK BHA 04/30/13 - 02:28 pm
5
1
KRSA should be ashamed

I've seen a lot of things go down with BOF and BOG appointments, but I don't think I've ever seen any org go as far as KRSA did in terms of the underhanded dirty politics they used against Vince Webster.

Not sure what your end game is, Ricky et al, but I did want to say that many of us believe you crossed way over the line on this one. It's one thing to oppose a board member's appointment or reappointment. That's all a part of the process. But to use outright lies in order to smear someone, and then have the audacity to double down on those same lies and tell the public that your "education efforts" were "fact-based and truthful" is beyond the pale.

We need good people to serve on our boards. These kind of tactics only make that less likely, and brings the entire process into the gutter. Politics may be dirty, but that doesn't mean any org has to, or should, play in the gutter.

KRSA went way too far this time. It won't be forgotten.

spybot
98
Points
spybot 05/01/13 - 09:51 am
1
4
Kramer is a hatchet job himself

Mr. Kramer formed his "Joe Fisherman" group aka Kenai Area Fishermen's Coalition to be nothing more than a front group for local commercial fishing interests to attack KRSA. He and Mr. Tarbox, a former commercial fishing area manager, regularly throw insults at KRSA without doing much else.

Flame on. But, check the mirror.

While proposing to lower on the escapement goal below 15,000, all in an effort to not close commercial set netters during times of low king salmon abundance, Mr. Kramer submits an emergency petition to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to close all waters (upper portion of the middle river) in the Refuge to king salmon fishing, because of king conservation concerns.

On one hand, Kramer proposes to lower the escapement goal on Kenai kings in order to allow commercial set netters to continue fishing when the minimum goal is not going to be met,
and then on the other hand,
Kramer proposes to close in-river fishing opportunity for everyone, including the one area of the river open for federal subsistence fishing for kings, all in the name of king conservation.

That action alone should let everyone in our community know about the true intentions of Mr. Kramer and his organization Kenai Area Fishermen's Coalition: More fish for commercial fishermen, less fish for in-river anglers.

Carver
1133
Points
Carver 05/01/13 - 12:58 pm
6
1
A total falsehood!

Mr. Kramer formed . . Kenai Area Fishermen's Coalition to be nothing more than a front group for local commercial fishing interests to attack KRSA. He and Mr. Tarbox . ."
********************

That is an absolute and total falsehood!

I know all the folks involved, and KAFC was formed to give the area's sport-fishermen, "Joe Fisherman," a voice untarnished by the special-interests driving KRSA.

Anyone here at the time will recall the full-page ad taken out in the Clarion, April, 2002, signed and paid for by over 150 area sports-anglers denying that KRSA speaks for them.

Roger104
137
Points
Roger104 05/01/13 - 01:04 pm
6
1
Mr. Kramer is trying to protect our resource

If I'm not misaken, Mr. Kramer's actions were to protect the early run Kenai Kings, which are in much worse shape than the late run despite the fact that setnets don't catch early run kings. Perhaps Mr. kramer realizes, like many in the community, that the commercial nets are not the problem. They are a minority harvester of late run kings, harvest no early run kings, and have absolutely no impact on the ecosystem of our river, which is also in trouble. Thank you Mr. Kramer and Mr. Tarbox for representing the best interests of everyone in our commnity, and for standing up to these dishonest bullies that are harming our resource and community.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/02/13 - 10:53 pm
3
1
Finally! Bullied No More!

What goes on in our environment (oh! dirty word!) is not a political issue, nor a sport/commercial issue, it is what it is. Sometimes climate does us all in, and if it wasn't so political, we'd all chip in since we are all in the same boat. Then you have the old fashioned (there's money to be made here, boys!) goons who fancy themselves a branch of the old CBC. Their jig is up.

There is a whole lotta lives that depend on the river and users owe each other the respect for each other's livelyhood. Until the hornet nest of KRSA started the division, there were few conflicts....the guide's kid went to school with the comfish's kid. See you on the bleachers.

Everyone has a right to earn a living. The KRSA wants to dictate to us how we make a living.

Sorry, boys, this is the USA.

(OMYG!) I screwed up...sorry about the repeat performance(s)............

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/02/13 - 10:48 pm
1
1
Finally! Bullied No More!

What goes on in our environment (oh! dirty word!) is not a political issue, nor a sport/commercial issue, it is what it is. Sometimes climate does us all in, and if it wasn't so political, we'd all chip in since we are all in the same boat. Then you have the old fashioned (there's money to be made here, boys!) goons who fancy themselves a branch of the old CBC. Their jig is up.

There is a whole lotta lives that depend on the river and users owe each other the respect for each other's livelyhood. Until the hornet nest of KRSA started the division, there were few conflicts....the guide's kid went to school with the comfish's kid. See you on the bleachers.

Everyone has a right to earn a living. The KRSA wants to dictate to us how we make a living.

Sorry, boys, this is the USA.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/02/13 - 10:48 pm
1
1
Finally! Bullied No More!

What goes on in our environment (oh! dirty word!) is not a political issue, nor a sport/commercial issue, it is what it is. Sometimes climate does us all in, and if it wasn't so political, we'd all chip in since we are all in the same boat. Then you have the old fashioned (there's money to be made here, boys!) goons who fancy themselves a branch of the old CBC. Their jig is up.

There is a whole lotta lives that depend on the river and users owe each other the respect for each other's livelyhood. Until the hornet nest of KRSA started the division, there were few conflicts....the guide's kid went to school with the comfish's kid. See you on the bleachers.

Everyone has a right to earn a living. The KRSA wants to dictate to us how we make a living.

Sorry, boys, this is the USA.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/02/13 - 10:48 pm
1
1
Finally! Bullied No More!

What goes on in our environment (oh! dirty word!) is not a political issue, nor a sport/commercial issue, it is what it is. Sometimes climate does us all in, and if it wasn't so political, we'd all chip in since we are all in the same boat. Then you have the old fashioned (there's money to be made here, boys!) goons who fancy themselves a branch of the old CBC. Their jig is up.

There is a whole lotta lives that depend on the river and users owe each other the respect for each other's livelyhood. Until the hornet nest of KRSA started the division, there were few conflicts....the guide's kid went to school with the comfish's kid. See you on the bleachers.

Everyone has a right to earn a living. The KRSA wants to dictate to us how we make a living.

Sorry, boys, this is the USA.

Seafarer
1147
Points
Seafarer 05/02/13 - 10:48 pm
1
1
Finally! Bullied No More!

What goes on in our environment (oh! dirty word!) is not a political issue, nor a sport/commercial issue, it is what it is. Sometimes climate does us all in, and if it wasn't so political, we'd all chip in since we are all in the same boat. Then you have the old fashioned (there's money to be made here, boys!) goons who fancy themselves a branch of the old CBC. Their jig is up.

There is a whole lotta lives that depend on the river and users owe each other the respect for each other's livelyhood. Until the hornet nest of KRSA started the division, there were few conflicts....the guide's kid went to school with the comfish's kid. See you on the bleachers.

Everyone has a right to earn a living. The KRSA wants to dictate to us how we make a living.

Sorry, boys, this is the USA.

Tanomami
43
Points
Tanomami 05/04/13 - 10:15 pm
1
3
Ricky Gease Is a Hero!!!!!!

What's sad is that Alaska is headed down the same path as the lower 48 only 40 years later. We are making essentially the same mistakes as them and it is now starting to show. The fact is the Kenai River did not gain it's notoriety from the small runs of the last several years but when the runs were in the 100,000 plus returns. Commercial fishing is not to blame, but "irresponsible" commercial fishing in the name of "by-catch. Every year the returns are getting smaller and smaller and what do we do? We lower the escapement to try and please everyone. We have done this down to the gnats behind and what are we doing? Lowering the escapement once again and of all times, in a time of peril. The fact remains that the following are held true:

- lowering the escapement will most certainly destroy what remains of our beloved King fishery and that segment of our economy that depends on it.
- King tag sales have been down by almost 50,000 tags over the past 6 years (contributed to bad returns) which can easily equate to 50,000 fewer visitors to our economy.
- losing our King fishery will equate to almost 100,000 lost visitors (tags alone) to our area.
- that the sports fishery takes on average 15% (good return years) of the amount of fish that enter the river; Last season just over 100 Kings taken by Sport fishermen
- that the habitat in our rivers is bar none the best in the nation/world by far and what little we have to shore up plays a very small part, if any of our existing problems.
- That the lower 48 is already gaining ground on pushing us out as the King Capitol of the World with their great returns these past few years.
- That commercial fishing has been greatly reduced if not outright closed in those areas in the lower 48 that are making huge strides.
- That we used to be a "catchery" then a "fishery" now ???
- What fills the rooms throughout the peninsula is "sports fishing.
- what fills the restaurants during the season is sportsfishing
- what fills the store during the summer is sportsfishing
- what fills the Walmart, Sportsman's Warehouse, Trustworthy, the gas stations the barber shops, Home Depot, Fred Meyers, the local processors and all the things we love etc....sportsfishing. Kill sports fishing and kill the entire economy end of story which directly or indirectly effect the majority of all people who live on the peninsula.
- Set gill nets took more kings in 1 day in by-catch than the sports fishery took all season.
- as escapement declines so will our trout fishery as its size is dependent on the amount of food available (fewer salmon fewer eggs, less food, less trout/char). So it too is in harms way. Biology 100 Darwinian theory, survival of the fittest.

it's time for all Alaskans (yes we are Alaskans too) who are effected by this to sound off for chances are you statistically (the majority of people) are attached to the "sport fishery" for your economic well being.

Support Ricky Gease for his brave, unrelenting, selfless and accurate heroic efforts to protect what truly is our center of gravity as it pertains to our economy...our "Sportsfishery"

beaverlooper
3072
Points
beaverlooper 05/05/13 - 10:43 am
2
1
"Last season just over 100

"Last season just over 100 Kings taken by Sport fishermen" Wow ! " What fills the Walmart, Sportsman's Warehouse, Trustworthy, the gas stations the barber shops, Home Depot, Fred Meyers, the local processors and all the things we love etc....sports fishing. Kill sports fishing and kill the entire economy ".
" Support Ricky Gease for his brave, unrelenting, selfless and accurate heroic efforts to protect what truly is our center of gravity as it pertains to our economy...our "Sportsfishery"
I laughed until tears came and my sides about split,until I realized this person really believed all of these things.That is one of the most obtuse statements I've ever read.
Pack it up all you oil and companies,hey military just fly/march/sail yourselves out of here we don't need you.And any tourists that don't fish for kings , just want to hunt photograph wildlife or just enjoy the natural beauty of our state we don't need you either.If " Ricky Gease with his brave, unrelenting, selfless and accurate heroic efforts to protect what truly is our center of gravity as it pertains to our economy."could talk KRSA into buying up up every net in the inlet everything would perfect. I have to stop now the tears are coming back.
Sometimes I almost wish KRSA would get their way totally, then they would fish the river till the kings were all gone and I wouldn't have to listen to this crap year after year.

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