Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:34 PM on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sad day for commercial fishermen

I have had the amazingly unique opportunity to grow up in Ninilchik and started commercial setnetting at the age of 14 on the east side of Cook Inlet. I continue to return each summer from South Carolina to work for an operation close to my hometown. I also take part in the sport fishing on the Kenai River and have done so since 1989. I believe strongly in the importance of both industries.

I just think its sad, however, when the relatively modern sport fishing and tourist industry clearly trumps the traditions of Native and pioneering Alaskans when it comes to the way the fishery is managed. I think residents of the Kenai Peninsula need to take a step back and think real hard about continuing to undermine the commercial fishing industry in Cook Inlet.

As I sit here in Ninilchik today, not one net is set, but 500 guides are still allowed to fish until midnight in the Kenai River. Im afraid Alaskans have forgotten to value their heritage.

Note: My fishing boss is Loren Leman and his father owned a fish trap before statehood.

Paton Blough

Greenville, S.C.