I have been a resident of South Carolina for the past 12 years but had the amazing unique opportunity to grow up in Ninilchik. I started commercial setnetting at the age of 14 on the east side of Cook inlet. I continue to return each summer and crew for an operation close to my hometown.
I also take part in sportfishing on the Kenai River and have done so since 1989. I believe strongly in the importance of both industries. I just think it's sad, however, when the relatively modern sportfishing 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.
-- Paton Blough