Fish politics can be messy stuff. They’re complicated; they’re emotional, and there’s a lot of money involved. Now that a group with ties to the sportfishing lobby is trying to put the existence of the Cook Inlet setnet fishery to a vote, fish politics are being taken to their messy extreme.
When the initiative application was filed last week, commercial fishing groups were mostly quiet. Now, they’re issuing full-throated denunciations of the move to prohibit set-netting in urban areas. “Theatrics and political games” is how the United Fishermen of Alaska — or UFA — is describing it. The Alaska Salmon Alliance — another trade group — has called the initiative a “public relations scam” meant to pressure the Legislature into giving sport and personal-use fishermen more access to Kenai River king salmon.
Andy Hall directs the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, and he thinks the initiative is more about allocation of fish than conservation.
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KDLL’s Shaylon Cochran contributed reporting to this story.