National Fisherman


Fish politics can be messy stuff. They’re complicated; they’re emotional, and there’s a lot of money involved. Now that a group with ties to the sportfishing lobby is trying to put the existence of the Cook Inlet setnet fishery to a vote, fish politics are being taken to their messy extreme.
 
When the initiative application was filed last week, commercial fishing groups were mostly quiet. Now, they’re issuing full-throated denunciations of the move to prohibit setnetting in urban areas. “Theatrics and political games” is how the United Fishermen of Alaska — or UFA — is describing it. The Alaska Salmon Alliance — another trade group — has called the initiative a “public relations scam” meant to pressure the Legislature into giving sport and personal-use fishermen more access to Kenai River king salmon.
 
Andy Hall directs the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, and he thinks the initiative is more about allocation of fish than conservation.
 
“They’re down in the Legislature trying to get somebody kicked of the Board of Fish, or eavesdropping on the UFA annual meeting, or, you know, kicking off some initiative to put a bunch of people out of business. That’s not conservation,” says Hall. “Maybe they’re conserving an opportunity for themselves to partake of, but, boy, I don’t see any king salmon conservation.”
 
Read the full story at Alaska Public Media>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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