Better question on fish lawsuit is: Should borough invest in itself?

Posted: Monday, March 01, 2004

After reading your editorial Wednesday I just thought perhaps it was because of the lackluster response to the recent story by Hal Spence. In the economic insert Thursday, I saw a full front page on the Kenai Landing and only a couple of paragraphs on Kenai Wild and the salmon branding program.

By your own admission management plans have not helped the salmon industry here. The borough has in the past provided funds to promote tourism, help the Kenai River Center and other entities. Groups hurt by state budget cuts differ from groups impacted directly by state regulatory policies. As far as picking a favorite child; your particular pretzel logic suggests euthanasia for the oldest child, the 112-year-old commercial fishing industry.

Kenai Wild is a positive step in the right direction. Cook Inlet could have the same fishery as Cordova. There are early reds and kings here. Sure, I can hear the collective gasp; however, the proximity to transportation links makes Cook Inlet the perfect candidate for the model fishery. Without flexible biological management quality will suffer and waste will continue.

The goal is not to live in the past, but rather change costly regulations that have created waste and lost the borough millions of dollars.

Your question about appropriate borough business well, the borough has lost millions to these regulations so the question is "Should the borough invest in itself?"

Did you know the funding would come from a federal fisheries grant the borough received? Did you know while the state and school district wrestle with budget woes, the borough has an opportunity to increase revenue? Did you know the borough has no fisheries committee while Homer is the halibut capital of the world?

Your scrutiny is misplaced on the request for funds and should be focused instead on the waste and lost millions of dollars.

John McCombs, Ninilchik

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