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Op-ed: Meaningful dialogue needed on fishery management

Posted: July 31, 2013 - 12:06pm  |  Updated: August 1, 2013 - 9:05am

It is part of what makes our state and community distinctive: Alaska’s wild salmon runs. They differentiate us from almost all other coastal regions in the world. Fishing is part of our heritage, whether sport, commercial, subsistence or personal use.

The key to sustainability with any natural resource is regulatory stability in terms of business planning and long-term investment. This is a significant problem in Cook Inlet, particularly in the Kenai River, due to salmon allocation issues that have been loudly deliberated for the past several years. With the past few seasons of poor king salmon returns the intensity of the debate has grown. Last year, Kenai River sport fishermen, along with East Side Setnet fishermen, were closed down to preserve king salmon for spawning escapement.

There is no doubt — we are in a period of low abundance of king salmon in several Alaskan rivers. However, the Kenai River king salmon fishery is not at risk or in crisis as high profile sport fishers would like us to believe. Though the king numbers are low, late run post-season analysis by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game showed that the 2012 closures on the Kenai River were unnecessary and were the result of previously misunderstood salmon counting and run timing issues. In fact, late run Kenai River king salmon escapement goals have been met in each of the last twenty-five years and were over escaped in nine of the last ten years.

Are the king salmon smaller? Yes, but for a variety of reasons including an overcapitalized, in-river, guided, professional sport fish industry that has systematically targeted large king salmon. The propensity of trophy kings may not correlate directly to a smaller run.

In order to create long-term solutions to the allocation issue, the Alaska Salmon Alliance (ASA), has a dialogue going with the Mat-Su Fish and Wildlife Commission and the Kenai River Sportfishing Association. We are reaching out to personal-use fishing organizations. ASA is an organization created in 2011 committed to pushing for scientifically-based fishery management, geared toward preserving — for all users — the salmon culture that is unique to Alaska.

We are not a part of the lawsuit filed by the Cook Inlet Fisherman’s Fund. We want compromise not contention. ASA is hoping for meaningful dialogue throughout the fall and winter months to come to consensus on some of the management issues that we can share with Alaska’s Fish Board and state resource development managers, as well as the Alaska Legislature. All user groups benefit from consistent, coherent policy that protects these salmon stocks for today and tomorrow.

In hopes of providing more information on the value of commercial fishing industry ASA funded a Northern Economics study to identify the financial impact of the commercial Cook Inlet Salmon Fishery. We were not sure what we would find, however the numbers from the report tell a positive economic story.

■ There was a total of $2.15 billion accumulated harvest value between 1980-2011, using 2012 dollars.

■ In 2011, the Cook Inlet Salmon Fishery:

— Was larger than all salmon fisheries in the lower 48 combined.

— Created more than 5000 Alaskan jobs.

— Added $102 million in direct value to our economy.

The full report is available on our website: www.aksalmonalliance.org/article/

The value of this regional industry goes well beyond dollars and cents. It grows our communities. The Cook Inlet Salmon Fishery creates an opportunity for Alaskans to learn a trade that is handed down from generation to generation, family to family, in our state.

Salmon and Alaska are inextricably linked. Whether you wet a line with a fly, bait or spinner, put a net in the river, or set or drift a net, we need policies that allow this unique natural resource to be shared by all and sustain it for the coming centuries. And we are working toward that goal.

 

Paul Dale has been a commercial fisherman all his adult life. He is the president of the Alaska Salmon Alliance. He and his wife Brenda own Snug Harbor Seafoods and the couple have five grown children. He has served on the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly and is a former Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute Export Board member.

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WRO
102
Points
WRO 08/01/13 - 02:36 pm
0
2

Cough Cough

Isn't this the same group that got on KTUU to say that the answer is to kill more kings to see how low the population can go and be successful.

The getting smaller is of huge concern because the most successful spawners are 5 and above.

You have no more credibility in this process than KSRA or any group.

BTW, can you post a link to the study that backs up the 102 million dollar claim?

spwright
1376
Points
spwright 08/02/13 - 07:53 am
0
0

Can You Guys EVER Stop Fighting ?

8/2/13 Year after Year after Year for Generations now.
The FISH WARS continue on & on & on.

Can You Guys EVER Stop Fighting ?

You Guys can't agree if it Day or Night.

Endless bickering, arguement, backstabbing, assigning blame.
No Leadership, No compromise, no agreements, no settlements, Unending Blame Game.

Enough Already. SPW

borninak
523
Points
borninak 08/02/13 - 12:03 pm
0
0

Credibility

WRO,

Paul Dale writes a fair OpEd suggesting "meaningful diologue" to resolve fishery management issues, signs his name and identifies who is, his company, and his working history. When he commented on this forum his username is "pauldale". He has established his credibility a hundred times over in this community, unlike yourself that is a nobody hiding behind your screen name and spewing lies and bogus references to economics in a pitiful attempt to minimize the importance of commercial fishing. Paul Dale doesn't really doesn't need to answer to you . Clearly you don't like what he has to say because you are a commercial fishing hater, even though you keep claiming otherwise. Your actions speak louder than your words. Why didn't you take Mr. Penney to task for his ridiculous comments? I'm guessing because you love his fish politics. I'm going to advise you to take your own advise and look in the mirror.

WRO
102
Points
WRO 08/02/13 - 12:26 pm
0
0

Source of my lies

The Alaska Salmon alliance, Pauls Group, is the one advocating to see how low we can in regards to spawning escapement can be.

Not a lie, its in print.

[In the contentious world of fish counting, the Alaska Salmon Alliance is trying to reason with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game when it comes to late-run king salmon escapement goals.

"We definitely think there's a low cycle of king salmon abundance at this time, no doubt about that, but these kind of cycles have happened before," said Arni Thomson, the alliance's executive director.

Thomson is worried the Kenai River's current late-run escapement goals, of 15,000 to 30,000 fish, are actually contributing to the low salmon runs.]

http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-conservation-groups-fish-game-seek-common-...

Lets just ignore the fact that most other runs in the Cook inlet are either over escaped most years (Reds) or not monitored at all (Silvers, Humpies). The only reason they are pushing for even lower goals is to increase commercial harvest of Reds.

If there is another economic study out there, I'd like to see it. If you're going to quote studies, its they should be cited. Every study I have quoted, I have provided a link to. The data I've cited, I've put a link too.

I'm greed hater and a salmon lover, not a commercial hater.

borninak
523
Points
borninak 08/02/13 - 12:27 pm
0
0

Bob's Mouth Piece

Oh wait, I did see you where you posted on Bob Penney's comments. "Bob has some good points with regards to conservation and protecting the run and allocation. Both things that need to evolve to meet our changing society." So basically your just a mouth piece for Bob Penney and his fish politics.

WRO
102
Points
WRO 08/02/13 - 12:58 pm
0
0

Thats funny

I've never met Bob, don't have a KRSA membership.

Would you not say that conservation was abandoned this year on the Late run Kings? The run may reach SEG (most likely) but the 5500 fish that were taken by both sport fishermen and ESSN's should be on the Gravel.

I have brought up allocations several times in many of my comments so no surprise there..

Instead of deflecting my questions and comments by accusing me of being a stooge for Bob Penny.

Why is Paul Dale's opinion more valid than Bob Penny's? Is it because he agrees with your point of view?

Ones a sportfishing lobbyist and the other is a stakeholder/lobbyist in the commercial fishing industry. One has at least advocated for some conservation, while the other has lead a group that has stated in writing, several times, that all that matters is the economic interest of Cook Inlet Commercial fishermen.

Both people with an agenda trying to take the whole pie..

Why don't you show me my lies and bogus studies..

borninak
523
Points
borninak 08/02/13 - 01:43 pm
0
0

Read the Article

Show you your lies? OK. I won't even have to go any further than your last post. You twist the truth so often you can't see straight. The last sentence you say "Both people with an agenda trying to take the whole pie." That is a lie. I'm not sure either person wants the whole pie. Paul Dale states, "Salmon and Alaska are inextricably linked. Whether you wet a line with a fly, bait or spinner, put a net in the river, or set or drift a net, we need policies that allow this unique natural resource to be shared by all and sustain it for the coming centuries. And we are working toward that goal." How is that wanting the whole pie?
By the way, I never said anyone's opinion was more valid. You are the one attacking the man with more credibility than you will ever dream of having.

WRO
102
Points
WRO 08/02/13 - 02:05 pm
0
0

Touchy are we...

You're right, both of them don't want the whole pie.

I stand by my credibility statement with comparisons to Bob Penny and others on the other side of the fence.

This is a puff piece written to sell memberships to the ASA, nothing more nothing less. To make a claim that its all science and conservation based, all the while submitting testimony and new releases that emphasize the 1) the importance of the red run to commercial fishermen and 2) that blame guides and sportsfishermen for the decline to the King run. (Hmm someone else did that in another article for the ESSN's)

The author is a Cannery Owner and president of a commercial fishing pac group. Who have publicly stated, that the king run concerns should come second to the livelihood of Set Netters.

I'm sure in real life he is a heck of a nice guy who takes does good by his family and for his community. Doesn't change the fact that I don't agree with his fishery politics that are not accurately reflected in this article.

Somehow, I should believe all his numbers without questioning them or asking to see the back up?

I'll say it again, don't care about the guides or the commercial fishermen's income/livelihood when it comes to saving a special and unique resource.

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