Rx for prosperity

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2003

There has been a lot of controversy over Gov. Murkowski's decision to move the permitting functions of the Habitat Division of Fish and Game to the Department of Natural Resources. Much of the controversy revolves around speculation the administration will either permit or pursue actions that will devastate our fish and game resources.

Rather than sling accusations in a vacuum, Southeast Alaska Seiners (SEAS) is prepared to take the governor at his word and recommends that others do the same.

SEAS supported Gov. Murkowski in the election because he is committed to the vitality of our fisheries and the prosperity of the people and communities that rely on the fisheries.

It all depends on abundant fish runs.

The governor has assured Alaskans that our fish resources will continue to receive protection. That is what counts for SEAS, and speculation aside that is what should count to everyone. Whether permitting functions are in Fish and Game or in Natural Resources, we have been assured that capable biologists will assess proposals for development and that the administration will protect our resources.

However, some have resorted to blunt speculation, insisting that moving permitting to Natural Resources must necessarily lead to irreversible damage to our fish resources.

Wait a minute.

Frank Murkowski has spent his life committed to working for the well-being of our state and its people. He has insisted that it is the permit process that is moving to DNR and that the substantive requirement to protect our resources will remain in place. He has also committed to pursuing resource development to support our state. Those resources necessarily include our fish and our commercial fisheries.

Taken as a whole, this is a prescription for prosperity, not a death knell as some would claim.

Dan Castle

President Southeast Alaska Seiners Association

Ward Cove

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