In response to Mike Heimbuch’s comments on Yukon salmon in the commentary portion of the Anchorage Daily News Aug. 4: He brought up some good points on politics governing these decisions. However, I would like to point out that he disagrees with catch-and-release on the Kenai River for king salmon, as he feels it is killing many of the kings caught and released. Most of us avid king salmon fishermen would like to see it just closed, but the Board of Fish goes to catch-and-release so the setnet commercial fishermen can continue fishing, and when they catch one, it’s dead. The kings run the shore, so the setnets get a bunch of kings where the drifters get very few.
In Southcentral, a sport-caught fish is worth 10 times more to the economy than a commercial-caught fish. The average setnetter makes $7,500 per year and the average drifter makes $12,500 per year, and they get 80% of the fish for approximately 400 active fisherman. These are published statistics. Half of the state’s population lives in Southcentral, so why is Cook Inlet not a sport fishery, as the fish belong to everyone and is economically the best use of the resource?
Politics is why, and it permeates all of the industry, as well as the Board of Fish. So maybe Mr. Heimbuch can help solve the problem as an active board member.
— Greg Svendsen
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