So, with dismal and concerning returns of Kenai River King Salmon (all time low numbers, catch and release only, then finally, the first ever emergency order of NO KING FISHING) and record commercial fishing catches and bycatches (when salmon are not targeted by the nets, but are still caught, killed, and then thrown back into the ocean - 122,000 in 2007, and the numbers continue to grow), I decided to contact our state representatives and make note that it's an issue for me as a voter. I wrote to Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich, and Congressman Don Young. I have not heard back yet (only five days ago) from the Senators. That's okay. I'd prefer their accuracy and research, over a fast, inaccurate response (such as received by Don Young). I wrote to the Congressman about commercial fishing bycatch and King Salmon escapement and returns, and received an unsigned answer about the BATFE??!! What?! Sir, you've already lost my vote. His staffer crew can't even respond FOR HIM in reference to the topic of discussion/concern to those he represents (see excerpt that I cut from the email and pasted below). I responded to the Congressman's "reply" and noted that I made no such contact in reference to the BATFE. I'm waiting to hear something else back. I'm going to write to Governor Parnell immediately after this post. Please also see the ADN articles about the conditions of the commercial salmon catches and by catches. Then, consider the King Salmon returns this year, the Emergency Orders, and actions taken by ADF&G and the Board of Fisheries.
Bottom line, we need to act. We need to be heard. We need to assemble and voice our opinion in every way possible, and if we don't feel that we are being represented properly, we have a public duty and personal responsibility to vote AGAINST that representative. Send them home, and the next one, and the next one, until we find people who are doing their jobs and representing us appropriately. If we fail to do so, we cannot expect change, and if there is no change, the commercial fleet will continue to take all the fish from subsistence and sport fishermen, until there are no more fish (or fishable numbers). We can make a difference. We as individual citizenry, are bigger than the commercial fleet, but we must make ourselves heard and not sit idly by, saying "well, it is what it is." It is what WE LET IT BE! Ever look at what happened to the Columbia River Salmon? See the links below.
" Thank you for contacting me regarding certain reported activities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). I appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with me......"
Please act now! We are witnessing, in our time, one of the greatest sport-fish and sport-fisheries in the WORLD, be stolen away from all of us...and our children....and our grandchildren....