Fishing license legislation unfair to U.S. citizens

Posted: Monday, February 23, 2004

I hear on KINY radio noontime news that Alaska legislators in Juneau have passed Senate Bill 56, sponsored by Sen. Dyson of Eagle River, that will now allow aliens from the Yukon to purchase fishing licenses and King salmon tags for the same price that Alaskan residents pay.

Are legislators' memories so short that they can't remember these are the people that allow their government to charge us Alaskans $50 to take our hunting rifles through their country and back into Alaska to hunt moose, sheep, caribou, etc.? Not to mention they allowed the blockading of our ferries, the burning of our flag and draft dodgers hiding out in their country, and the stopping and impoundment of our fishing fleet while traveling to and from the Lower 48, as well as when our fishing fleet was fishing in Dixon Entrance and the Portland Canal area. The Canadian government also allowed the stopping and slowdown of vehicle traffic at our borders during tourist season.

If this privilege is going to be offered to aliens from the Yukon, will it also be offered to aliens from British Columbia who also reside on our boarders here in Southeast Alaska? I know this privilege is not offered to Alaskans who want to go to Canada and fish.

The King salmon caught by aliens will be counted against Alaska's total catch allotment of King salmon issued Alaska by the International Salmon Treaty between Alaska, Canada and the United States.

It doesn't make much sense to give away this valuable resource and source of income at a time when our state is looking for ways to create revenues.

If the Legislature wants to give away our resources that are very valuable to commercial fishing, sport subsistence and charter boat fishing, they should give it to tourists from the Lower 48 also. After all, they have contributed to the salmon industry through federal taxes and are U.S. citizens. This would help the tourist industry and charter fishing.

Put yourself in the place of the fishing license vendor who is selling a resident license to an alien from Canada, while standing alongside is a U.S. citizen, from the Lower 48, who will have to pay the nonresident price. Think of all the excuses the vendor will have to come up with to justify the charge to the non-resident. Our only hope is that our governor will see through this charade and veto it.

John Erickson


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