The Kenai River Sportfishing Association is currently pursuing an aggressive campaign to “Save our Kenai Kings.” Perhaps you have heard their radio ads or seen their networking on social media. KRSA is using an interesting deception here. They seek to drive people to their website so that they can sign up to “Save our Kenai Kings.” But, when you get to the website, you are funneled into sending the Board of Fish your comments in support of KRSA’s favorite board proposals.
Interestingly enough, the board proposals you may support for the purpose of “Saving our Kenai Kings” will actually serve to “Save our Kenai River Guides” rather than the stressed kings. The proposals do nothing to address habitat issues in the Kenai River, which are critical to resolving the king problem.
I believe that the KRSA attempt to “Save our Kings” is a calculated distraction from the “Big Truths,” because the following are not mentioned in their deceptive appeal to “Save our Kings”:
1. Thirty-five years of heavy boat traffic have caused big wakes that constantly erode the riverbank and add to turbidity, thus degrading the spawning environment for Kenai kings. The accompanying engine noise, turbulence and exhaust a foot above a spawning bed cannot provide much comfort to king salmon who might like to spawn in peace.
2. Thirty-five years of overfishing on spawning beds. Up to 600 boats per day seek “the big one” in the summer.
3. Thirty-five years of thousands of hooks per day clawing through spawing beds.
4. Thirty-five years of targeting “the big one” have left a population of small kings. For the most part, “the big ones” are gone.
There are other issues that KRSA leaves out of their campaign to Save the Kenai Kings. Catch and release mortality is a huge one. There is currently no sanctuary for kings, no place that they can spawn in comfort. Why not provide this?
The issues KRSA wants you to support on their website are self serving, short sighted and a real distraction from what many believe to be the issues of priority for really improving the habitat degredations in the river, and thus really saving the Kenai king.