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King salmon managment history needs to be examined

Posted: July 20, 2012 - 7:58am

2012 is a sad year for the Kenai Peninsula, both for the residents and the tourists, ie, few king salmon in the streams and rumors of mushy halibut in Cook Inlet will dramatically impact its economy. And all the second guessers are having a field day -- how could this catastrophe happen? Regarding ocean trawlers, the only incentive to reduce bycatch is to make bycatch part of the catch quota, with no catch high-grading allowed. Regarding king salmon river fishing: 1) The fisheries must be bank fishing or driftboat-fishing-only, with no anchoring or anchor dragging allowed! 2) Known in-river spawning beds should be closed. 3) Catch-and-release should stop. Stiff penalties must be imposed for violations and necessary law enforcement personnel added.

Sounds harsh, doesn't it? This event has been a long time coming! I recall the first Kenai River imposed-catch-and-release was circa 1989, with more since (and ever smaller fish) -- all indicators of a diminishing fishery, which no one would admit. There are too many managers of the ocean and Peninsula fisheries, and nobody is in charge! Serious change is required or the fisheries will disappear! Question: Why does one choose to disbelieve history?

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