I've fished Cook Inlet for the past 25 years, and I've seen firsthand the steady erosion of our commercial fisheries. The recent actions by the Board of the Fish -- taking yet another chunk out of the drift fishermens' livelihood -- are just the latest assault on our families and our way of life. But the Board's actions are especially ironic considering it refused to hear a proposal to protect salmon habitat from the proposed Chuitna coal strip mine in upper Inlet. That project would -- for the first time in state history -- mine completely through a salmon stream. Mining through spawning beds is the purest form of a permanent allocation of our common property fisheries, and only the Board of Fish -- not the Department of Natural Resources -- has the constitutional authority to make that determination. So, why did the Board of Fish cut our fishing time to allow more fish up Cook Inlet if it's going to ignore permanent salmon allocations like the Chuitna coal strip mine that would diminish our wild fish stocks forever?
Paul Mackie, Homer
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