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The Politics of Fishing

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  • The Politics of Fishing

    Let me set this straight. I am an outsider and I do not live in Alaska. I never have and I seriously doubt I ever will. Yet I love fishing in this state, so much that as a visitor I was determined to find a way to return over and over without taking it through the nose.
    I did. I became a book author and of my two only volumes, the first has gone to reprint and the second is just about sold out. That's about 6,500 books that have gone into the hands of those who might be interested in making the journey to the Last Frontier.

    I'm small time. Certanily not a notable like a Gunnar Pederson or a Chris Battin, but not bad for a bit player. I represent the commuting visitor who buys into the Alaska sportfishing experience. They average over 300,000 out-of-state liscences per year. That's more than the resident sportfishing angler. They average over 180,000 in-state liscences per year.

    Both of these groups then number easily over 450,000 liscences per year.

    It's certainly not the same for commercial liscence fishing counts. Residents number less than 10,000 and non-residents number a little over 8,000.

    SOURCE: ADF&G 2006 Statistics

    That's a hell of a ratio. Less than 20,000 commercial persons as compared to 450,000 individual persons.

    Yet, look at the politics these commercial guys have. Try the At-Sea Processors Association, or the Petersburg Vessel Owners Association, or the Untied Fishermen of Alaska, or then on to the National Fisheries Institute. These organizations all have officers, charters, dues, and lobbists. Lobbists influence regulations. You don't have to be student of government to know that. Money talks, always. The arms of those organizations reach out far in political influence that affects fishing regulations.

    Now, take a look at the organizations of the indvidual sportfishermen of Alaska. Though they by far outnumber commercial liscensure, the only organiztion I found outside of local clubs was the Kenai River Sportfishing Association and that was it. That's hardly a reach.

    So, what's my point?

    It's easy. The commericial guys are organized and the individuals are not. It's a comparrison as easy as night and day. One sees how to turn on the light and the other is still in the dark. I find that sad, and now with new regulations, alarming.

    Expressing opinions on a community forum is good, but it's just a rant that's wasted in cyberspace. I read everything you say. I am very impressed in your statements and your evaluations. It's your state and your views continue to inspire me.

    And so, here I am. I've put my neck out. I'm asking you to consider organizing yourselves to become a political entity. You can if you willing to make that committment. How powerful you could become. You outnumber the commercial side by the hundreds of thousands. What an influence you might have!

    Me?

    I already told you. I'm the outsider. This is up to you. All I can say is that if you do make it in organization, and want someone to represent the commuting angler, you can count on me for assistance, both organizational and fiscal.

    I hope you don't resent my suggestions. I'm really in it for all of you...

    Bernard R. Rosenberg
    Sarasota, Florida
    941-266-7231
    http://www.alaskanauthor.com
    "Two decades researching and defining fishing opportunities in the Last Frontier!"


  • #2
    Myopic.


    At best.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    • #3
      The main problem with an orginization taking place is that many of the non resident licenses are sold mainly to people that take a charter trip. There is more argueing between the charter fleet and the personal fishermen than there is between the comm fishermen and fishermen. Until these two (charter and personal fishermen) groups can start to work together this kind of force unfortunatly will never happen even though these two groups are on the same side they fight amongst eachother and the comm fishermen sit back and laugh at us and reep the benifits. There are too many ME's in the sport fishing side for them to unite and become US.

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      • #4
        No matter the quantities of sport anglers, or in state/out of state, fishing does not pay their bills and hence only a small percentage of them care enough to take part in the politics of fish allocation between user groups. They don't have skin in the game, hence they really don't care enough to take action.

        However a fishing guide, or someone who sells gear, or someone who writes fishing books does have skin in the game and hence a sufficient interest to take action.
        Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

        If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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        • #5
          If there was an organization that was truly representing the private sport angler and not guides/lodges/etc, I'd join and be active in it in a heartbeat.

          I'm sure that on many issues, we'd be working right alongside the other organizations that include the other sport sectors, but when it's time to work for our own interests, then that's what's gotta be done.
          "Fishing relaxes me. It's like yoga, except I still get to kill something." --Ron Swanson

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          • #6
            Clue me in.

            What are the disputes between the sports fishermen and the charter operators?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by idakfisher View Post
              Clue me in.

              What are the disputes between the sports fishermen and the charter operators?
              Same here. Have yet to hear any real dispute between the two.
              "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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              • #8
                yup

                Yup! Me three, I wanna know too
                If a dipnetter dips a fish and there is no one around to see/hear it, Did he really dip? ALASKADIPNETTING.NET

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                • #9
                  Its sad but true, but there are many "sport fishermen" who do not not use charter services to fish classify themselves as different and in some cases more righteous than the "sport fishermen" that does use a charter services. It won't be long before the comm fish is at the private sport fishermen's door step. I hope not but it's looks to be heading that way. Best of luck to all the guy's/gals in SE with the new screwing that is going to happen tomorrow, I can't believe this is happening in America. Bernard that is an excellent observation and I wish we all could come together and stop all this bull becasue it is all pollitical. All the politicians are in bed with the comm money from the token responses I got from them. Not to put all the recent changes on the comm guys there were many charter operators from some of my responses from the politicians that supported many changes , but my guess is they wanted to cash in on the permit.

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                  • #10
                    fearknot when the preverbal poop hits the fan nobody is gonna worry about fishing for recreation. I don't think they're wetting to many lines in Japan. Speaking of which just think how good the dipnetting will be for all their household goods. Ok then I'll let you tourists continue your discussion in this deadend thread. Hey Benard isn't their more pressing business in Florida to concern yourself w/? what about eligible senior widows running around the shuffleboard area don't they keep you busy enough?
                    sigpic




                    I'm taking a poll
                    <--------click this star if you think I should run for Gov

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                    • #11
                      I am conflicted on the sport vs guide issue. On the one hand it really is all about "sport" and who is to say that a guy taking out his own boat and getting it done is much different than paying for a seat and getting it done. It is sport for the guy reeling the fish in either way. I think the difference is, that a guided boat can go out day after day. The guide knows the water and best tactics as he should and is able to increase catch accordingly. I fear the that this is a double edged sword in that the areas with a large group of guides pushes the distance one needs to travel to find good fishing ground further and further. I see where this could possibly rub owner operators the wrong way. I can imagine that not too many years ago guys could pick up good halibut out of Seward, Whittier, Valdez, etc.... without having to burn 3 hours worth of fuel. I also see that the guiding industry brings lots of dollars to those towns. I won't comment on comm fishing as I am ignorant to the issues, I see bycatch as a big problem but I have no numbers (other than the amount of beer I have had). I grew up doing it on our own but I have been on a few guided boats. I have to say that it is always a bit disappointing. Even when we limit the boat on a guided trip I don't feel nearly as satisfied as DIY. The first post is dead on regarding the truth that money talks and unfortunately sports fishers really can't put up the numbers that comm fishing and the guiding industry can. It may be in the best interest for independent sport fishers to join guides. I just fear as the pie gets cut into smaller pieces the little guy gets left with the crumbs. Ask the fisherman in Montana that can no longer fish local rivers without a permit. This was a long beer fueled post and for that I apologize.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fullbush View Post
                        Hey Benard isn't their more pressing business in Florida to concern yourself w/? what about eligible senior widows running around the shuffleboard area don't they keep you busy enough?
                        :0 :-) :-) :-)
                        "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

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                        • #13
                          Heyduke, it would be nice if the private and charter would join together and level the playing field. Maybe someday it will happen and I hope it does.

                          FYI fullbush "I'm not a tourist" guess you assumed wrong and to slam Bernard for asking a question when obviously he doesn't agree with your views. Doesn't make sense.

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                          • #14
                            Financially it makes sense. I just see what has happened with the "guiding" industries in some western states. I fear that in some cases the industry can grow at unsustainable rates. I think that in order for a partnership to work all parties have to address their own negative issues.

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                            • #15
                              Couldn't agree with you more Hayduke. I would love to sit down as a group and try and reach some common ground that will work for all. Not that I have ever had any issues with either group but I'm sure there have been some at times. If we don't join together soon there will be nothing but Comm fish. Not that they don't make/buy all the rules already.

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