Economic viability of Cook Inlet's gill-net industry . . .
It has been claimed that Cook Inlet's gill-net industry needs two or more million fish in order to remain economically viable. Some questions arise:
1) Is that figure for sockeye alone or for all species: sockeye, chinook, chum, pink, coho, herring, halibut?
2) Does that figure include the entirety of Cook Inlet's gill-net industry or just the lower east side?
3) Is that figure even true? What economic data can be summoned to support a claim of < 2+ million fish to survive?
It would seem obvious that Cook Inlet's gill-net industry needs some minimal harvest in order to remain economically viable. Without sufficient quantity of harvest, the necessary, attendant support industry—transport, processing, ice, etc.—would disappear simply because they couldn't survive in terms of economy of scale.
The question then becomes that if some minimal quantity of harvest is necessary to support Cook Inlet's gill-net industry, what is that number? Cook Inlet's gill-net industry is an important and integral part of the area's economic base, and that factor needs to be considered when allocation issues arise.
If all the dire warnings eventuate, if oceanic conditions change, if we're some day confronted with a shortfall of harvestable yield, how then do we prioritize allocation to the benefit of all Alaskans?