I am a retired Army Soldier, with 24 years of service, and two combat tours. I am a full-time Alaska resident, and have been in the state for a total of 14 years. I have lived on Fort Richardson, Fort Wainwright, and now, in Eagle River. I currently serve as a defense contractor on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. I am also a lifelong sportfisherman. I have fished all over the world (literally). I am also a sportfishing guide and local business owner.
I am sure you are aware how incredible our fish and fisheries are, and how much economic value they provide — $1.4 billion annually was the last number I saw. With the exception of the Florida Keys, I have never seen this level of sportfishing economy anywhere in the world. We won’t sustain our fish or revenue like that, nor will we sustain our jobs (many of us), if we cannot do something to take care of our fish, particularly king salmon, sockeye, rainbow trout, and halibut.
Alaska’s Board of Fisheries meets this month to discuss solutions to our drastically reduced king salmon returns. I hope you and your readers will join me in encouraging the Board to take decisive action, with what is best for sustainable returns and resident populations of our iconic fish, in mind.