Three items point to the reason behind this unanimous endorsement by the Southeast Alaska Seiners Board of Directors, who hail from Petersburg, Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan, as well as at-large seats from Seattle and Anacortes, Washington.
Record runs, great conservation leadership, and management stability
We have witnessed the continued stability of Southeast salmon runs and the meticulous management that has enabled the state of Alaska to set record harvests of all species this past decade. Recognizing that much of the decade saw Gov. Sean Parnell in a leadership role as lieutenant governor and then, of course, governor, is a tribute to the succession of the hardworking public servants serving in the Parnell administration under the remarkably stable leadership of the state's co-manager and chief conservationist, Gov.Parnell.
Economics, marketing, and record dollars
Gov. Parnell's time in office has seen record Southeast region king salmon harvests by the troll and sport fleets, as well as record Southeast coho harvests by the troll, gillnet, and sport fleets. This was accomplished in conjunction with record escapement levels. And most dramatically, 2008 through 2014 witnessed the longest "bull market" for pink salmon in history! The economic dollar value for 2008-2014 (and, yes, he was the governor those years) outstripped any period in state history. Adjusted for inflation it was probably the best since the 1940s.
The rejuvenation of ASMI (Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute) was just in its fourth year as Lt. Gov. Parnell was sworn in. Now in its 12th year after reorganization, ASMI, under Gov. Parnell -- and working in concert with the Alaska Legislature -- has never had greater success. The governor has worked hard promoting Alaska's silver cash crop, something Alaska's fishing families and communities can be proud of.
States' rights and standing up to D.C.
The governor has had a solid approach to Native rights and working to ensure active and equal participation in sport, subsistence, personal use and commercial fisheries. But equally important, Parnell has shown an incredibly strong arm and back in supporting Alaska as the owner state and moving away from the federal territorialism and colonialism that still haunts us in modern times.
The Obama administration is currently strong-arming Alaska's stellar constitutionally-mandated and conservation-based management at the upcoming 2015 Southeast Finfish Board of Fisheries meeting. SEAS wants the Parnell team there for all of Southeast's salmon harvesters, users and salmon eaters.
A couple more reasons to vote Parnell come to mind if you live here in the Tongass. He's super pro-mining done right, logging done right, tourism done right, as well as the aforementioned fishing done right.
Boat values, permit values, locker and gear values are all at all-time highs. All permit values are, on average, three times higher since 2008. Boat values, on average, are nearly three times higher than 2008.
To say that SEAS believes we have no choice in the race for governor is a vast understatement. When your manager provides the stability and hires the team that takes you to the World Series of sport, subsistence, PU and commercial fishing: you don't change the manager.
Robert M. Thorstenson, Jr. is executive director of the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association.
The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.