OPINION: Proposal threatens to upset the balance of Alaska’s fisheries

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as if Malcolm Milne and Brian Ritchie

Updated: 2 Minutes ago Published 2 Minutes ago

As leaders in two distinct Alaska fishing jurisdictions – the commercial fishery and the charter guide industry – we often ride different waves when it comes to our views on fisheries management. However, there is one thing we can unequivocally agree on. Proposition 43, which will be brought before the Board of Fisheries at its meeting in Homer this week, is dangerous to all user groups, fishermen and anglers.

Although our backgrounds may be different, we are united by our love for Alaska’s abundant waters and the salmon that appear within them. Together, we recognize the collective strength of our fishing community as we come together to protect our cherished resource and stand firmly against Proposition 43.

Proposition 43, which seeks to reduce our state’s production of pink salmon by accident, represents a serious threat to our salmon runs and the balance we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We see the profound impact that fisheries have on our communities, economies and livelihoods, and are committed to supporting responsible and science-based management of our fisheries resources.

Let’s set the stage: Alaska’s aquaculture industry has contributed to the supply of our salmon populations and the prosperity of our communities. Alaska’s private, non-profit hatchery programs are strictly regulated and overseen by the Department of Fish and Game. The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association has been instrumental in supporting the harvest of all user groups in our region since its inception in 1976. The hatchery operation has strengthened salmon runs and reduced pressure on wild returns during lean years. and sustainable income and supply for thousands of Alaskans. This preserves the rich traditions of our fishing heritage.

But make no mistake, this isn’t just about commercial fishing. Alaska’s charter guide industry, represented by charter business owners throughout the state, plays an equally important role in our fisheries ecosystem. We connect people from around the country and the world to the experience of catching wild salmon in our freshwater. Our industry contributes to local economies, supports jobs and fosters a deeper appreciation for our natural environment.

So why oppose Proposition 43? Simply put, this proposal threatens our interconnected fishing community. The CIAA’s dramatic reduction in the production of pink salmon has far-reaching consequences, affecting commercial and sport fishermen, harvesters, and public-use anglers and dip-netters who come to the Kenai Peninsula and Homer each summer.

The results reach far beyond dollars and cents. The proposal’s potential to upset the delicate balance between wild and hatchery-produced salmon runs is a concern. We

We strongly believe that fisheries management must be based on science and data, ensuring that decisions reflect the complex dynamics of our salmon stocks.

What we are most proud of is the solidarity we have seen in our fishing community. We are not the only ones opposed to Proposition 43. Whether they come from the commercial, charter, subsistence or public utility sectors, fishermen recognize the dangers of this proposal. We respect our common ground – our love for Alaska salmon and our commitment to its sustainable management.

Not all fishermen want to divide and conquer; Many of us are grateful to work together to improve our resources and the future of our fishermen. We are grateful for the collective strength we find in unity.

As leaders, we shoulder our responsibility to support responsible leadership for our fishermen. Our diverse backgrounds highlight the common thread that runs through our fishermen — our shared appreciation for the salmon in our waters and our desire to see them flourish for the long haul.

In closing, we urge the Board of Fisheries to carefully consider the broader implications of Proposition 43 and oppose it. Let’s stand together in our commitment to Alaska’s fisheries and to the generations that come after us. Let’s protect our fisheries heritage.

Malcolm Milne He is a resident of Homer, serves on the board of directors of the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association and has been a commercial fisherman in the region since 1995. He owns and operates the F/V Captain Cook.

Brian Ritchie He is 33 years old and was born and raised in Homer. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a master’s degree in environmental science with a concentration in fisheries in 2020. He started his charter fishing business in 2016 and has been fortunate to partner with the business and grow, adding more vessels. Office in Homer to provide reservations for other owner-operators.

The views expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a wide range of views. To submit a piece for consideration, email comment(at)adn.com. Submit entries of less than 200 words. letters@adn.com Or Click here to enter through any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and comments over here.

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