Alaska senators address recreational fishing rules

U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mark Begich, D-Alaska, joined panelists at the Kenai River Classic Roundtable in a discussion about recreational fishing and the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act on Wednesday at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Currently the MSA only addresses saltwater fishing in federal waters. While it provides a management process for commercial fishing, it lacks a focus on recreational fishing, said moderator Phil Dyskow, who serves on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee and the board of directors for the Center for Coastal Conservation.

“What they’ve done is simply used the same policy developed for commercial fishing and applied it to recreational fishing,” he said.

The lack of a recreational policy has created “crisis conditions” throughout the nation, he said. In an effort to resolve the issues that have developed and balance the user groups, Dyskow said, a national recreational fishing policy needs to be developed. A broader understanding of the economic and social values must be seen and the reauthorized MSA needs to address recreational fishing, he said.

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