From Voices of the Peninsula, Aug. 20, “Sometimes Fisheries Must Change with the Times,” I offer some timely rebuttal.
Commercial fishermen were limited to protect the resource on the heels of the same laws introduced in Washington and Oregon. The law was also enacted to ensure that permit holders could earn a livelihood. Guides remain unlimited. Dipnetters remain unlimited. Charters are now limited, somewhat. Area H extends from Seward to Susitna. If the permit card spoke it would say salmon, all species!
In 1978 there were not 400-plus guides in a slot limit hook and release king fishery taking place where kings spawn. There wasn’t 50,000 dipnetters. There was no commercial fishery on early Kenai kings, the start of the original Cook Inlet Management Plan. There was no charter fleet. The Deep Creek marine fishery was skiffs launched from the beach. There was no tractor launch. There was no horsepower restriction on the Kenai River. There were no guides on the Kasilof River. There was no hook and release. There were no 4 stroke motors. There were no slot limits. There was no staggered starts for the beaches. There was no drift fishery corridor. There was no Kenai Classic. There was no Ricky Gease in the paper every week. The board of fish would meet in Soldotna. The governor was not afraid to have a picnic on the Kenai Peninsula. The fish and game commissioner had a degree in biology/fisheries management! The chairman of the board of fish did not reside in Prescott, Arizona half the year. Mr. Johnson makes Rip Van Winkle look like a piker. He has taken a 30 year snooze. While he addresses time he has turned a blind eye to profound changes and reallocations in the Cook Inlet fishery and the Kenai River in particular. He, at best is a finger pointer, not a problem solver. How about some honesty for a change?!