Panel brings Alaska user groups to the table

More than 130 people had lunch together at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center where a panel of representatives from many of the fishing groups in the Cook Inlet answered questions on the ongoing conflict over fishing.
 
Six panelists answered prepared questions about the history of the fishery, problems with management and potential solutions to coping with the decline in king salmon.
 
The first question asked of the panelists, many of whom are fishermen in the area, was how changes in participation in Cook Inlet fisheries had affected user groups.
 
Jim Butler, a commercial setnet fishermen and representative of the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, said commercial fishing had been limited, but other types of fishing had not.
 
“(Commercial) fisheries became limited entry in the mid-70s and as a result of that, it limited the number of people who could actually participate in our fisheries,” he said. “But no such limits exist in the river although it’s a much smaller space.”
 
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