Charters benefit families, too

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Monday, February 05, 2007

Victoria O’Connell of Sitka wrote: “It’s a shame to limit access to a public resource.” (Clarion, Jan. 29.)

I agree wholeheartedly. It is a shame, particularly when that resource is allotted to one small portion of the Alaska population and denied to the majority.

Not all clients fishing charter boats are in possession of Ms. O’Connell’s “... fair bit of wealth.” Some of us go on charters once or twice per year to provide food and an outing for our families. Some pinch their pennies for years for that dream of an Alaska fishing trip.

The great part of a half day charter is being able to take my kids out fishing and showing them how to catch and process their own food without breaking the bank, although it puts a big crack in it. These family trips make memories for a lifetime and encourage our children to continue this tradition when they have children of their own.

The point that 250 million American consumers are being cheated out of their fair share of halibut just isn’t valid. At $16 to $20 per pound at markets Outside, I have the feeling that the same people that come up to Alaska to fish are the same people buying it Outside.

I would much rather see those same people driving or flying to my state to spend their money on airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, shopping, dining out, photo processing, charter boats and processing and shipping their two fish than spending $20 a pound at some distant market or restaurant.

I can’t visualize an hourly-wage earner forking over that kind of money for a pound of fish. For that price there has to be some fun attached.

It’s fairly evident from my point of view that the fiscal benefit of tourist-caught halibut is far greater than that of commercially caught halibut for the majority of our states’ residents.

Lastly, I fail to see how a 1,000,000 pound increase in allotment is unfair to commercial fishermen, and telling Alaskans and tourists alike that cutting their limit by 50 percent during the prime fishing season is.

That’s just my opinion though, I could be wrong. Now help me down off this soapbox.

Chuck Henry


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