Strong sockeye returns reason for optimism

Two items in the news this week should prove more than just a silver lining for everyone impacted by the sport and commercial fishing industries — which is just about everyone on the Kenai Peninsula.

This week, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game opted to open the Kasilof portion of the commercial setnet fishery two days early in response to a strong return of sockeye salmon to the Kasilof River.

On the heels of that announcement, Fish and Game issued an emergency order liberalizing bag and possession limits for sockeye on the upper Kenai and Russian rivers, as well as opening the sanctuary area at the confluence of the Russian and the Kenai to sockeye salmon fishing — also in response to a strong return.

There’s even a little bit of good news coming out of the Kenai River king salmon fishery. While the Kenai River early run king salmon sport fishery remains closed and Fish and Game managers are taking a conservative approach to the late run, king salmon numbers have been better than expected and may even meet the lower end of the early run escapement goal.

Even if you don’t fish, this is all good news, as those who do fish contribute to the local economy. Both the sport and commercial fishing industries generate employment opportunities. Fishermen of all types spend money chasing salmon — from equipment and gear to meals and lodging. That spending fuels the local economy all summer.

Beyond our economy, strong salmon returns are what draw so many of us to the Kenai Peninsula, residents and visitors alike. Indeed, salmon runs have been sustaining people on the Peninsula for thousands of years. Whether you hook the fish yourself of pick up a fillet from a local market or processor, in one way or another, salmon on the table benefits us all.

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Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

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Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

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Ready to weather the storm

If there’s a bright spot in the recent headlines regarding Alaska’s economy, it’s this: on the Kenai Peninsula, the bad news isn’t nearly as bad as it could be.

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Letters to the editor

Chuitna mine threatens Alaska way of life

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