As a lifelong Kasilof district commercial setnet fisherman, I would like to voice my support for Fish and Game's decision to close setnet fishing in the Kasilof district on Monday in order to let more kings escape into the rivers.
This decision makes sense -- there are few reds escaping at this time, and our king to red catch ratio would most likely be higher than it would be later in the season. This decision would make even more sense if it were made with the understanding that when the reds do show up, we would be allowed, if the strength of the red run permits, to fish through the ill-conceived mandatory closures that the Board of Fish has imposed on us. This would maximize a responsible harvest of reds while minimizing our king catch in a year of low return.
I challenge the Kenai River Professional Guide Association and the Kenai Peninsula Sportfishing Association to support this, for the health of the entire fishery and our community. I too am concerned that we achieve adequate escapements of kings in our rivers, but do not feel that we should unnecessarily sacrifice our red run, or the entire setnet fishery to do so. The mouthpieces of these two associations would rather see the setnet fishery eliminated regardless of the cost to our community. It's time for everyone, including this newspaper, to call them on the misinformation that they spread. Why not listen to real biologists for a change? It seems we could spend more time listening to experienced, accredited Fish and Game biologists and the years of legitimate data they have gathered rather than specific interest group spokespersons with questionable credentials and very transparent agendas.
Thank you Fish and Game for striving to make decisions in the best interest of our resource and everyone in our community in spite of senseless management restrictions passed by the Board of Fish and overwhelming pressure from self-serving special interest groups.