Safety concerns for Board of Fish meeting are valid

Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I am writing this in response to the letter from Ken Tarbox.

Four years ago, while anchored out in Cook Inlet fishing for halibut, on a non-commercial fishing day in early August, I was attacked by a commercial fisherman who used his big boat to try to roll wakes over me several times. The incident lasted for about 20 minutes, and my boat was nearly sunk. I learned later that he was likely upset because of fishing closures that had just occurred on the Kenai River (in August) due to concerns over the silver salmon run. I was told that he was not lashing out at me, personally, but at recreational sport fishermen in general. My complaint was virtually ignored by Fish and Game. I was told I really needed to keep a video camera with me to have evidence for such complaints.

I have seen or heard, at meetings, on local radio stations, from several businesses and within many of our political and state offices, how some commercial fishermen try to intimidate people who do not fall in line with their singular interests.

I am not surprised that Sen. Wagoner would try to rekindle old conflicts from the last Fish Board meeting that took place here. He, being a commercial fisherman, would obviously love to see all of his buddies gather together to force his and their own interests upon anyone who disagreed with them.

I know that the decision to hold the meeting in Anchorage was far more complex and was not decided over just a safety issue, but I for one am very glad to see that wiser heads kept this potentially dangerous meeting from reoccurring here in our community. We do have a reputation as a safe and welcoming community let's keep it that way.

K.D. Johnson , Soldotna



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