December 11, 2013
Shortly after the new year, Alaska’s Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell and the State Division of Elections will decide whether an initiative to ban set nets off Alaska’s urban shores will go before the state’s voters.
The Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance announced their proposal one month ago, citing the declining Kenai River king run as proof that stronger conservation methods are needed in the salmon fisheries. From the AFCA perspective, that means reducing the number of king salmon intercepted by shore-bound commercial fisheries targeting sockeye salmon.
“The 210-foot-long set nets are indiscriminate killers that catch everything swimming by,” said AFCA president Joe Connors. “For AFCA, what matters is that, within urban areas, commercial set net fishing is an undeniably antiquated and predatory method of harvesting fish that wastes Alaska’s fisheries resources by indiscriminately killing or injuring large numbers of non-target species.”
Connors, who spent six years as a Cook Inlet set netter, is a retired University of Alaska Anchorage professor and owns a lodge and fishing charter service on the Kenai River.