Increased restrictions a bad idea

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2008

Arguments, like An Outdoor View's for further restriction of "commercial" fishing for the sake of increased sportfishing opportunity are poorly considered for a number of reasons.

First, if "commercial" means "doing it for money," there is far more commercial fishing going on around here than just the gillnet industry. By that definition, guides and charter boat operators are commercial fishermen as are setnetters and driftnetters.

Second, no commercial fisherman is an end-user. Guides and charter boat operators are a means for private anglers to get their fish. The gillnet industry is a means for folks who choose to get their fish in markets and restaurants.

Thus when one talks about restricting the gillnet industry, one is really talking about taking fish from one group of Alaskan and American end-users those who get their fish in stores and markets and giving those fish to another group of end-users private anglers. Our fish don't belong to one user group; our fish belong to all Alaskans and all Americans. A housewife in Des Moines should not be disenfranchised in favor of special economic interests.

Third, further restriction of the gillnet industry in favor of the sportfishing industry narrows our area's economic base.

Fourth, making our area's economy more dependent on the sportfishing industry makes our economy increasingly vulnerable to rising energy prices and the overall health of the nation's economy. Does anyone believe gas prices are going down?

Increased restriction of the gillnet industry in favor of the sportfishing industry is a bad idea.

John Nelson


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