Ok, so a couple students and profs at UAA did a bunch of research and interviews with members of our community last summer, and put together a study on food security on the Kenai Peninsula, and how our fisheries help provide it.
Of course, KRSA put their tilt on it and touted it as one more example of how important sport and personal use fishing is for Alaskans.
Well, apparently that wasn't exactly the conclusion that the researchers drew. Here's the UAF prof's response (from UCIDA FB page):
Hello Audrey, Roland, et al.
I saw your recent repost of KRSAs interpretation regarding the food security report recently published by my research group. I wonder if you could pass this response along to your membership as well?
I think... it is important to understand that KRSA has drawn conclusions from our report that we ourselves did not make and with which we do not agree. First of all, the finding of our report is that ALL fisheries in Cook Inlet and the Kenai Peninsula are important to local food security. Diversity is a premise of regional resilience and sustainability, and it is our contention that robust local commercial fisheries are an important component of that diversity for the Kenai Peninsula. Note that, while 56% of local residents identify personal use / subsistence as their primary means of acquiring local seafood, and 36% cite sport-fishing (not just on the Kenai), 27% of our respondents report getting fish via barter, trade, or sharing as their primary means; more specifically, barter and trade is especially important among low-income households, and by law barter and trade can only be done with commercially-caught fish. Likewise, I regret that we omitted a figure from our report that showed that nearly 14% of households in the peninsula have a member which participates in some aspect of commercial fishing -- thus an important economic contribution to the region in its own right.
More importantly, however, we disagree with KRSA's contention that strengthening individual access to local fisheries over commercial interests could also be a pathway to greater regional food security. In fact, we have an academic paper about to be published (an unedited proof is attached here, please do not distribute) which finds the opposite - that individual access to local fisheries in this region is overdeveloped at the expense of local commercial markets and local food security. Individual access is very important, but for people without the time, means, or inclination, it leaves local seafood out of reach. We argue that only increased access to commercially-caught fish will increase the social justice of the Kenai food system. We also note that many commercial fishermen are already taking this social justice responsibility upon themselves, by experimenting at much cost to themselves with alternative direct-marketing approaches to bring seafood to local consumers. This story at AlaskaDispatch describes just one example: http://alaskadispatch.com/article/20130417/expanding-program-brings-southeast-catch-direct-anchorage-homes
We are very interested in learning from all commercial fishermen about what barriers exist to bringing more commercially caught seafood to local markets, and this is an ongoing research problem for us.
As you know, we undertook this research with no agenda by way of supporting or detracting from any of the local fisheries, but are interested in supporting only the health and sustainability of Kenai Peninsula communities and fisheries resources. It is a challenge of all research to present data in a way that minimizes how it will be co-opted to particular sectoral agendas, and hopefully we can address any of your concerns by maintaining open communication.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions, and thank you for your continued support!
Philip A Loring, PhD
The Human Dimensions Lab @ WERC
and the Alaska Center for Climate Assessment and Policy, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Seriously? Ok, we've established that the Executive Director of KRSA has no shame and will say anything. But what about the board of directors? How does Gary Turner, Director, Kenai Peninsula College or Mark Hamilton, Retired President of UAA feel about KRSA's misrepresentation of acedemic reports produced by the University? Are they ok with that? How does Lisa Murkowski feel about the recent political tactics of the organization her husband sits on the board of? Is this her vision of the political future for our state? Do the district manager of Home Depot and the President of Alaska USA Federal Credit Union condone business practices that include eavesdropping on the competition? Does the retired VP of Alaska Airlines realize how many millions of pounds of commercially caught seafood were shipped on his airlines during his tenure there? KRSA's Excutive Director is an employee of these men that make up the board of directors. Does Kenai River Sportfishing Association's board of directors condone this action or is this the result of a couple of runaway board members and a truley shameless executive director? If so, show us by taking some flipping action on this total crap!!!
Please board members, someone say something before we all start banking at a new bank, buying lumber somewhere else, flying a different airlines, and shipping our kids to out of state universities!!!