A disaster of state’s own making

Your recent article about Gov. Parnell requesting disaster relief for commercial fisherman is a political tactic only. Whose department closed the fisheries? Right! Why ask the Federal Government for something you should have prevented by proper oversight. Parnell’s Dept. of Fish and Game premeditated these actions without proper science and data. The northern district commercial fishery was restricted back in May of this year prior to any science or data of low runs. Explain why these fisherman were restricted before any current data was available. Next came the central district attack and more northern district restrictions. Then back to the northern district to finish them off with closures, Susitna and Fish Creek excuses. All along the drift fishery was allowed to fish but they don’t catch northern district fish according to Fish and Game. Swanson River fish don’t get monitored but this area suffers due to the Susitna return? Plenty of fish there they just can’t harvest them due to government control. The human factor, livelihoods, economic effects do not enter the decisions made by the board of fish. This doesn’t concern them so the Governor has to make some kind of feeble act or he’ll look bad.

We need the Fish and Game to explain their methods and equipment used to count fish to the general public. Most people don’t understand their methods or science but only listen to the numbers and media reports. All inaccurate. Why pull the sonar when the kings are still entering the rivers? Why count jack kings on commercial fish tickets as “caught kings” but not count them passing the counters. Well, how can you differentiate an eight pound jack king or an eight pound sockeye or silver? You can’t. Why aren’t the counters put in the river to count the early runs? Wasn’t the record king salmon caught in May?

Is everyone aware commercial fishermen have been paying a 2 percent fish enhancement tax to the state on the dollar value of salmon caught? Where is the enhancement? Why don’t we have hatcheries built in the northern rivers suffering poor runs which Fish and Game keep reporting year after year? What is being done? Every dipnet permit and fishing license should include a fish enhancement tax. They all use this resource and need to help enhance it as well.

People, I enjoy sport fishing as much as the next guy but this doesn’t put much food on my table, pay my bills, or help pass commercial fishing dollars into my community. We need answers. Remember, once government starts taking they rarely give it back.

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