Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2002

There are good reasons KRSA, Kenai Classic have detractors

Brett Huber, while thanking the community for its efforts on behalf of the Kenai River Classic (Clarion, July 19), notes that the derby has some detractors who are "...sometimes more vocal than they are informed." Brett is partly right, but, sadly he's partly wrong, and his superficial dismissal of local opinion is another glaring example of exactly why the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and the derby have detractors.

First, KRSA, while engaging in some conservation and educational activity, is primarily an advocacy organization for the sportfishing industry. Many area residents would like to see a public explanation of just where KRSA's derby dollars go: how much to conservation, how much to education and how much to lobbying regulatory agencies in the interests of sportfishing. Brett is correct if he claims derby detractors are uninformed as to how KRSA spends those millions of derby dollars.

But Brett is wrong if he dismisses local opinion as totally uninformed. There are some things we do know about KRSA, the derby and Brett's activities. We know that KRSA states on page 10 of its online newsletter that KRSA agrees "... there is no better use of Alaska's salmon than for personal and family consumption. ..."

We also know that earlier this year Brett aggressively lobbied the Board of Fish to deny residents their "personal and family consumption" of first-run Kenai River king salmon. KRSA and its derby earn their detractors with this kind of double-talk while claiming to represent Joe Fisherman. Scores of Alaska sport fishers have made it graphically plain that KRSA doesn't represent them.

So let's be honest here. KRSA accomplishes some worthwhile projects with the dollars Brett garners from the derby, but KRSA also uses some of those derby dollars in pursuit of goals contrary to resident traditions and priorities.

Arrogant dismissal of resident opinion and lack of candor are why KRSA and the derby have detractors.

John Nelson


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