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Letters to the Editor

Posted: Monday, December 16, 2002

Kodiak fishery not the problem with early run Kenai king returns

The "Iceman" has heat exhaustion.

After reading Don Johnson's letter in which he accused me of making false statements, I thought it was necessary to clear up his false accusations, so I took the time to gather the information which I am sending with this letter.

The Don Johnson letter was a real surprise; all this time I thought he was cold and uncaring -- I was wrong, he is quite emotional.

Here are the facts:

Hepler and Mecum withheld the whole section of the record copies on the Kasilof River and Kenai River sockeye. The original RC was dated Oct. 8, 2001; the edited version -- dated Oct. 9, 2001 -- was sent to the Board of Fisheries as RC 11.

Who is "we," Don?

Hepler and Dan Coffey took $50,000 from the Kenai River wake study so Coffey could hold halibut meetings; Hepler spent $40,000 on Outside consultants.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game figures from 2001 said guided anglers harvested 90 percent of the early Kenai kings. In 2002, Kodiak fishermen harvested 19,263 kings. The 30-year average is 9,994 -- most of which come from Kodiak systems; 9,656 were taken in June, 8,834 in July and 773 in August.

The run timing is wrong for Kodiak to impact early run kings, as Kodiak's season starts in mid-June. The early run kings would be past Kodiak by then.

If conservation was the main reason for the winter king restrictions, it couldn't have been very serious, since the Board of Fisheries recently flip-flopped and reversed the restrictions.

It was wrong for Coffey and Hepler to take $50,000 from the wake study when it is the habitat that is being hammered.

It was wrong of Hepler and Mecum to keep information from the Board of Fisheries and the public.

It was wrong to waste $40,000 on Outside consultants on a study that could have been done in-house.

It was wrong to bring taxes into the discussion, as the real issues are lack of early kings and the waste of government money by Kelly Hepler and the Board of Fisheries.

In closing, I am sending the Clarion the facts to back up this letter.

As for Don't statement about my being ignorant to the Kodiak fishery, he is dead wrong, as I have 30-plus years of fishing experience -- more than enough to know it takes two or more weeks for the kings he is talking about to get to the Kenai River.

So, Don, you should stop trying to mislead the people and stick to the facts. These are Fish and Game facts and are available to the public.

Mark Ducker

Kasilof



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