By Kevin Delaney, December 12, 2013
OPINION: Fighting over fish in the Upper Cook Inlet is nothing new. Both sport and commercial groups have has aggressively sought to a share of the catch for years. But the current attack on personal use and sport fishing by commercial users goes far beyond anything in the past. Loren Holmes photo
The United Cook Inlet Drift Association, a commercial fishing group that represents the Cook Inlet drift gill net fleet, and a number of its members are using the Alaska Board of Fisheries to launch an all-out attack on personal-use and sport fishing in Southcentral Alaska. A series of almost 50 proposals submitted by UCIDA to the board aim to undermine the harvest of salmon by non-commercial users.
The BOF will meet to deliberate these proposals and others in Anchorage Jan. 31 through Feb. 13, 2014. Board involvement in Upper Cook Inlet “fish wars’’ is nothing new. Both sport and commercial groups have aggressively sought to defend or gain catch share over the years. But UCIDA’s current attack on personal use and sport fishing goes far beyond anything in the past.
Four user groups — commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence — now compete for five species of salmon in the Inlet. The region itself is home to more than 375,000 Alaskans, or 60 percent of the state’s population. The complex, mixed-stock nature and competing user demands of the fisheries in the Inlet are unique in the state.
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