Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:33 PM on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Politics destroying livelihoods

Today is July 23, a traditional peak day for my setnet sites off K-Beach. The fish are there; the drift fleet is loading up right off my outside 1 mile sites that do not catch kings, yet here we sit, not allowed to fish because of the supposed low king salmon count in the Kenai River. A count that the biologist admittedly said he has no way of knowing its accuracy.

We call the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recording every day. Theres various counts on the sockeyes, yet not one number for the kings. If they are going to shut down an entire fishery, where are the statistical reasons?

We appreciate the work of the biologists, but we have gone beyond biological data. Cook Inlet has become a political arena sports fishermen against setnetters, and over the past years, they have beaten us down through the politics of the Board of Fisheries so we can no longer make a living.

True, we catch more kings than drifters, but its mostly the half-mile beaches that do. Now is the time to allow the outside nets to fish. We are in an emergency where there will be major overescapement of sockeye in the Kenai, as last year when setnetters were wrongfully shut down. Can the river afford year after year of overescapement?

Looking at the big picture, where are the limits being put on the huge trawlers who dump 50,000-120,000 kings not pounds a year? Theres our potential breeders.

Rather than fight each other, why dont we unite together to deal with the bigger picture? Why does the small guy always have to pay the price of greed? Ultimately, what price is this glorious fish paying by not being able to breed?

Deborah Nakada Limacher