I was very upset Sunday morning when I picked up my Sunday paper and read that Senator Stevens is going to exempt the long-running and successful Tustumena Lake hatchery program from a rider that is working its way through the Senate.
He is doing this on the word of special interest groups and Bob Penny who is a special interest group all by his self. According to the paper, to quote Bob Penny, "Senator this rider smells as bad as a two-week-old red salmon and I don't steer you wrong Senator and I won't on this one."
The heck he wouldn't. Bob Penny is no friend to commercial fishing. The only thing that smells here is the good ole boy politics being played out here over this issue.
I know why Bob Penny doesn't want the fishery to continue and I think most of the folks here on the Peninsula know, too. And it sure isn't because he wants to save the wild run that runs up the Kasilof. That seems to be his and the special interest groups argument, but the program has gone on so long now that if that were the case, the wild run would have been wiped out long ago.
Let's have a little honesty here, the goal here is to restrict commercial fishing and personal use fishing as much as possible so we can get more kings into the Kenai River. In my opinion that is Bob Penny's agenda. The outside environmentalist's agenda is to just lock up everything they can so nobody has access to anything. The enhancement program on the Kasilof River has a long running history of being a very successful fishery.
It is a shame that we are going to loose this fishery which has benefited our community so much because of a couple of special interest groups that have Senator Stevens' ear.
Commercial fishing has a long-standing tradition in our community. Personal use has been a very successful fishery for all Alaskans. If we aren't heard these fisheries will be a thing of the past.
Trina Doyle, Kenai
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