Letters to the Editor

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2001

State scientists being held hostage by social-engineering mandate

One lie after another after another and voila, it's another Don Johnson letter. Please print some truthful facts on salmon management in Cook Inlet. The Alaska Board of Fish is bankrupting many Alaska resident businesses. Why did the board allow 40 million pinks to spawn in the Kenai River last year and 10 million in 1998?

In February of 2000, at the board meeting in Anchorage, the board authored a coho plan that allocated fish to nonresident sport fishermen and restricted the commercial fishery. The Aug. 9 closure of the gillnet fishery was never about sockeye, but about the incidental catch of coho. The so-called new coho plan only made it more impossible to manage for sockeye.

As far as fish for the dinner table, there was about 400,000 square feet of gillnet on a stick or dipnets that harvested nearly 200,000 sockeyes for the dinner table.

The local managers at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are scientists and also hostages of the social engineering Bob Penney told Gov. Tony Knowles to implement through his lawyer and Board of Fish chairman, Dan Coffey.

Finally, the outcome of perpetual overescapement in the Kenai River has become an unacceptable pattern of poor returns for all users. The Board of Fish has put allocation ahead of science with a morphed out version of outcome-based management that has the priority of who gets the fish, not what is good for the fish.

A dipnet fishery before minimum escapement that competes with a hook-and-line fishery and king salmon fishery is not anything but problematic. A fish derby for habitat is oxymoronic. Urban subsistence (dipnetting) on stocks already 100 percent allocated can't help but fuel controversy.

While the governor was eating ice cream and denying Katie John subsistence fish, he sent 15,000 dipnetters to the Kenai. What we now have in Cook Inlet is the same inflexible management we had under the feds, only mandated by the state Board of Fish and the governor.

So, sure, Don Johnson, I have to agree with you, the "department" had a little trouble managing the fishery this summer. The Board of Fish has led the department into the dark alley of allocation and social engineering. The Board of Fish mandated the department pander to the more vocal misanthropes like yourself. Since 1994, this board has been hellbent on allocation to nonresident sport fishermen. Mostly what I got out of your last letter was a twisted tale of fiction and unhappiness.

John McCombs


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