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Kenai kings face long odds, but it’s not too late

January 17th, 2014 | Posted by Alaska Salmon Alliance in Articles | Opinion | Political action | Salmon

The Kenai king controversy has connected some dots for me. I was born in Alaska in 1950 and raised on the banks of the Kenai River. I have collected empirical data (“a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation”) with regard to Kenai kings and the Kenai River for 63 years. I have  witnessed the changes: the tendency over the past 40 years towards overuse, overharvest, and in-river habitat destruction.

There have been all kinds of warning signals for many years that the Kenai king (and more importantly, the in-river habitat) is in distress, but the Board of Fisheries has not looked at the big picture, preferring instead to tinker with “small ball” actions such as slot limits or the use of barbless hooks or escapement goals.

The fact that Kenai kings for 40 years have been not only interrupted but aggravated on their in-river spawning habitat by up to 600 boats per day seems to be of little concern to the regulators. There is no sanctuary for spawners. Why would it be a mystery that Kenai kings are in trouble?

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