Are silver salmon next?

My guess is, the silvers will be the next species of fish to bottom out in the Kenai River. More and more cabins are being built along the river and riverfront lots are being cleared right down to the river bank along the riparian zone with no respect for the 50 foot Borough setback ordinance. There is almost no zoning and mediocre enforcement of the Borough 50 foot setback corridor ordinance. Just look at the River Quest subdivision and you'll see total destruction of valuable riprian habitat. This habitat is important to the well-being of the river ecosystem and survival of the fish species.

Have you been on the Kenai River fishing silvers in August during the last couple of years? It is almost as crowded as fishing kings in July. Most anglers (both guided and non-guided) are "party fishing" with everyone keeping their line in the water until the entire boat gets a limit of fish. Although the regulations state a 2-fish limit per person, not many seem to abide by this regulation. Lack of enforcement of the regulations over the years have promoted this illegal activity to be an accepted standard on the river.

There is no effective law enforcement on the Kenai River. I have not seen a State Fish and Wildlife Trooper on the river in several years. State Park Rangers do some patrolling, but they have a lot of area to cover with few personnel.

Some locals still claim to have proxies and catch limits of fish for others who are not even on the boat. This system is outdated, abused and should be eliminated.

The survival of a healthy Kenai River ecosystem and fish species depends on good ethical conservation practices on and along the river banks. Should we be building cabins along the river where there is no means for construction of proper septic systems? Should the Borough initiate a study to construct a modern sewage waste and disposal system along ther river? These are all questions that the Borough Assembly, Chamber of Commerce and other officials should be asking now, not later. The local economy depends on a healthy and viable Kenai River renewable fishery resource. When the fish are gone, the local economy will suffer.

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