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No matter what the opinion, voice it at fish board hearing

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2005

Today and Saturday is your chance to voice your concerns about the management of Alaska's salmon resources here on the Kenai.

It is important to remember that thousands of Kenai residents participate in the commercial harvest of this important renewable resource, both in the tourism and commercial fishing industries. We, in the commercial fishing business have always known that Alaskans come first in the personal harvest and enjoyment of Cook Inlet salmon. It has always been this way.

With the pending closure of the Agrium plant, we are reminded that oil and gas are resource depletion industries that will trickle to a predictable end. When the platforms are rusting derelicts, the salmon will still be swimming past them, providing thousands of jobs for Alaskans.

Commercial fishing and the newer tourism industry have provided the solid foundation of a healthy renewable economy and will continue to do so.

Whatever your feelings are regarding Cook Inlet's "fish wars," please remember that the future abundance of the salmon resource cannot be separated from sound biological management.

It is possible today, more so than the past, to have solid, economically viable commercial fisheries and tourism industries along side abundant personal-use fisheries. Cook Inlet is one of the most productive salmon producing areas in the world.

Bob Merchant,

Skipper, F/V "Northwind,"

Kenai



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