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Behavior at fishery task force meeting disappointing

Posted: February 22, 2013 - 10:06am

I was very disappointed in the actions and behaviors of some individuals in our community at the Upper Cook Inlet Task Force Meeting (Feb. 14). It was disheartening to see slander and blatant lack of respect for those sitting on the task force who have developed proposals and been working with various individuals in the fishing community. I was extremely disheartened by the immaturity of an individual who outright attacked a board member, Luther Andersen, and accused him of only representing himself, questioning the validity of this panel member. After the meeting I was able to reach Mr. Andersen and learn about those he was representing and the many individuals that he has met and conversed with in the development of his proposal to the Task Force. I was very interested to learn that he also has met with some of the local set netters who wanted to discuss the proposal that he had created.

What disturbed me further was another incident that I witnessed during one of the many breaks during the meeting. Another individual approached one of the task force members, Dennis Gease, and began to berate him publicly — accusing him of being on the task force simply because of his son’s position as head of the Kenai River Sport Fishing Association. I was glad to see Mr. Gease stand up against this disrespectful and ill-mannered individual — stating his many involvements in local salmon interests — serving on many local committees.

The tone of the meeting was clear! Many set netters disgruntled with management plans that would be in the best interests of the King Salmon if we would have another year of low king numbers. Yes, it is a sad situation to lose out on money from nets not being in the water, but the overall health of the King Salmon runs was being looked into during this meeting. It wasn’t just the set nets that were impacted by last year’s closures, talking to many others at the meetings it’s obvious that the river guide communities and the marine charters suffered as well. Are the interests of the larger group of netters more important than these smaller groups? Or the survival or health of a species? We know that biodiversity creates better ecosystems and promotes healthier years down the road — so why not work together to prevent disaster rather than argue “this is how it’s always been and we want it to continue!” Sometimes we need to give a little to ensure continual returns and a benefit to all in the future.

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thewhop2000 03/06/13 - 10:17 am
dipnetting representation

Dennis Gease is the vice chair of the South Central Alaska Dipnetters association and that is why he was on the task force. He represents and was a voice for all the 90,000 people who benefit from dipnetting. Besides Dennis has been active on a lot of subjects and groups when it comes to the Kenai River. What his son does, does not matter. Mr. Gease lives on the Kenai River and and wants to see the river and its resources healthy. Can't blame a guy for that.

Roger104 03/15/13 - 08:08 am
Poor Representation

One would think that the purpose of having a dipnetting representative would be to advocate for their user group, which depends on abundant SOCKEYE runs as well as King runs. Mr. Gease did a very poor job of this, and his comments and voting were in lock-step with the only non-resident paid 'consultant' on the board who was supposed to represent sportfishermen, but was really representing KRSA. I would have thought that Mr. Gease would have some input on the yield tradeoff discussion, but he chose to let the paid KRSA rep do all the talking, and that individual was frustrated that Sockeye even entered into the conversation!

The overall tone of meeting was productive and substantive, and a lot of new information was produced by ADFG as a result. Let's not let one or two disrespectful comments by individuals set the tone for this discussion.

Kapco 03/15/13 - 09:00 pm
Step up to the plate...

There are so many "after the game" coaches out there it is ridiculous. I cannot speak to the specifics of Mr. Gease and the quality of his "job" but I would definitely give him kudos and credit for taking the time to sit on the task force. If the dip netting community is not satisfied with the performance of Mr. Gease, I might suggest someone in the crowd close their mouth and step up to the plate in 2014. This task force, by mission statement, was entirely about the late run kings and in his capacity, I would say Mr. Gease did just about what anyone could/would of done in his place. In low abundance, it would seem only logical that each user group should make real concessions that would end up with meaningful reduction in late run king harvest. Thank you Mr. Gease, I appreciate your effort.

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