Did I just hear what I heard? I just finished listening to the Board of Fish meeting by live streaming on my computer.They voted 5 to 2 in favor of taking no action on the 6 petitions in front of them. Granted they were received with little time to study. Seems like that’s the magic word with boards, study. The fish don’t understand studies and when they decide to go up the river away they go. Never once during this hour and a half meeting did I hear anyone ask or propose what happened to the kings throughout the state, low returns are everywhere. Are the eastside setnetters being not allowed to fish going to correct this? I think not. They talk about about not being able to allocate the resource amongst user groups, but this is exactly what they did. The idea of moving the nets further offshore is short sighted, obviuosly these people know little abount getting a set to stay in place a mile and a half to two miles off of Humpy Point. Fishermen have spent years sandbagging there and still have problems. This is not something you are going to do in the spur of the moment.
Sorry to say it’s too late to do anygood for the biggest percentage of east side setnetters, the fish have already gone by many of them. Again I say fix the problem where it is created not solely on the backs of the eastside setnetters. Some pretty hollow words were said by board members as they are not feeling economic hardship that the people they are affecting are. The board has no representative from the Cook Inlet area and therefore have been treated quite unfairly as far as I can see.
Is what just happened this year going to correct the problem with the king returns of the future? I would guess no on that one. If the management of the fisheries is truely based on biology and the continuance of run strength what is the reason for the in-river fishery targeting 55 inch and above kings? Do these fish not spawn and perhaps produce more 55 inchers? Lots of questions and not very many answers that my common sense can be comfortable with.
I remember when the eastside setnet requlations stated that one end of your net must always go dry. Moving further offshore is not a realistic management tool . Maybe we should bring the traps back; at least you can close the traps, fish will go around, if you need to you can release live fish from the heart of the trap. Just saying, stranger things have been done, like shutting down the whole east side.
Looking forward to better ideas on how to get more kings back into all rivers in the state, overfishing in the river maybe? Just a few thoughts from someone involved in Cook Inlet salmon fishing for over 50 years.