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Writer: Where’s the consumer’s side?

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, January 29, 2007

Regarding your article on Friday regarding the IPHC decision to limit charter clients to one fish for a small part of the charter season season: I am not surprised that once again the U.S. consumer was left out of the story. You quote Ms. Bondioli as saying, “The demand for halibut will be there.” It’s a shame to limit access to a public resource.

Both commercial and charter industries are big business. What is missing is that commercial charter operators are a business that requires a fair bit of wealth on the part of the client — while the commercial fleet in Alaska is fishing for the U.S. consumer, of which there are over 250 million.

When you look at the allocation split in this way it becomes obvious that the charter industry is really getting considerably more than its “fair” share based on access to the resource.

The U.S. consumer would easily purchase all of the allowable harvest if given the opportunity but is well managed and has stayed within its allocation for each of the last 10 years while charter has exceeded their GHL in 2C every year it has been in place.

The commercial industry has been asking for fairness in management — an allocation is just that and each sector should be managed to stay within it’s limits.

We all know the charter industry is vigorously lobbying for a larger piece of a fully utilized resource and may well end up with a larger allocation. Where does that leave the real American consumer who can’t afford to come to Alaska on vacation to catch fish?

It would be nice to see a reporter take an unbiased look at the whole story.

Victoria O’Connell

Sitka



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