Ballot Initiative Would Attempt to Ban Set Netters
Ashleigh Ebert, Nov 06, 2013
A group that says its mission is to conserve fisheries in urban areas of Alaska has filed a ballot initiative that would ban commercial set-net fishing in urban, non-subsistence areas of the state.
Joe Connors is President of the Alaska Fisheries Conservation Alliance. He says he's worried about low king salmon returns, and blames set nets for decimating the population.
"The 210-foot-long set nets are indiscriminate killers that catch everything that swims near them," Connors said.
Connors says king salmon stocks in the Kenai River are at and all-time low.
"We are basically going to run out of king salmon in Cook Inlet if we don't do something about it. And that's why we need to be conservative at this time," Connors said.
But Travis Every, a Kenai set netter, says when he fishes in the summer time, 98 percent of what he catches is sockeye.
According to Every, the state has seen low king runs before. The population goes through cycles, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is already setting limits on set netters.
"The department is doing the best they can do as far as controlling us, because they have put severe restrictions on us," Every said. "You know, in 2012 I fished one day in July due to a king type issue."
Every says there is room for everyone on the Kenai.
"I'm the last guy that wants anything to happen to this resource," Every said. "I'm a third-generation Cook Inlet fishermen, raising a fourth. I want this thing to be around for my kids and grandkids."
AFCA wants to get its ballot initiative on the August 2016 primary ballot.
If the ballot initiative goes through it would affect five non-subsistence areas including the Kenai Peninsula, among others.
The Division of Elections must first certify the ballot initiative application.
Read the original article here.