Sport fishery needs to take responsibility for king returns

This letter in response to Mr. Bill Tappan’s letter (Clarion, Jan. 31). Here are a few facts: The sports fishermen own the problem with the early run Kenai Kings. The commercial setnet fishermen have been excluded from fishing early run kings for over 50 years. So could you please explain how setnetting could in any way be responsible for their demise?

Fact: The sport fishery has had exploitation as high as 80 percent of the early run Kenai kings.

Fact: Early run Kenai kings are very active in their spawning mode from early May through August. Many of these fish are taken during the late run in-river sport fishery.

Fact: Late run Kenai kings met their minimum or exceeded their maximum end of the escapement goal for the last 30 years.

Fact: This is not true of the early run of Kenai kings. Reminder, no setnetting for over 50 years.

By the way, east side setnetters were kept from fishing in 2012 by ADF&G only to find out 8 months after the season over 10,000 surplus kings were available to be harvested by all users all because ADF&G’s inability to count kings. The setnet fleet was the only fishing group unconstitutionally excluded from the 2012 fishing season. This cost the setnetters over $30 million. This might not seem like much, but it meant over 500 setnet fishing businesses had no fishing income to help support families. Sometimes the solution comes from looking in a mirror, especially when you are the sole and exclusive user of the resource, for example, early Kenai kings. This fishery cannot ask subsistence, personal use or commercial setnetters to share in this burden as they have already been unconstitutionally excluded from this fishery. So the sport fishery seems to be the user who is to blame.

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