KRSA executive director Ricky Gease addresses the Kenai Rotary Club about what is and what needs to be done in the salmon fishery.
As everyone is eagerly anticipating the return of salmon to Cook Inlet, the Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA) has published a new report that tracks the “Economic Values of Sport, Personal Use, and Commercial Salmon Fishing in Upper Cook Inlet.” KRSA executive director Ricky Gease has been sharing the content of the report with civic groups and Chambers of Commerce organizations on the Kenai Peninsula. “The Kenai River is the most popular sport fishing river in the world with its tremendous runs of salmon and trout that brings a quarter of a million anglers annually to the Upper Cook Inlet and those numbers are going to continue to grow. What we do in cooperation with the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, State Parks, Fish & Wildlife Service, the Borough and Cities, is to provide better and more responsible access areas with the appropriate infrastructure to make sure that the use on the River is done appropriately and will foster stewardship of the resource,” Gease told the Kenai Rotary Club.
According to the report, economic values of sport and personal use salmon fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet now significantly surpass those of the commercial salmon fisheries by every available measure and that the average annual commercial salmon harvest values in Upper Cook Inlet represent only 5% of the statewide commercial salmon totals. Data compiled and analyzed in the KSRA economic report is a compilation of statistics from more than 30 sources and was not created or generated by KRSA according to Gease.
As the use of the Kenai River for sport fishing continues to increase, Gease sees management policies such as predictable windows for weekend fishing opportunities as essential to the sport fishing economic engine, “Many Alaskan families have stocked freezers full of sockeye salmon this year thanks to the actions taken by the Board of Fish commonly known as windows, the management plan that requires commercial fishing nets to come out of the water for specified periods of time, opening a ‘window’ for the sockeye to enter the Kenai River. This rule allows sport and personal use sockeye anglers the opportunity to plan a weekend fishing trip and know that their effort won’t be disrupted by an unanticipated opening of the commercial fishery,” said Gease.
The KRSA study is available on line at www.kenairiversportfishing.com or call 262-8588.
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