Sport fishing should not be regulated

Posted: Sunday, March 07, 2010

Sport and subsistence fishing for Alaska residents should not be restricted, since its consumption supports individuals and families.

According to the Alaska Subsistence 2003 Fisheries Report, the major portion of coho and chinook harvests for home use in Southeast Alaska is taken with rod and reel (sport gear). There are not any conservation reasons to regulate sport and subsistence fishing, since the two combined only account for 3.5 percent of the total harvest. Subsistence users took about a half percent of the salmon statewide (1,003,120, or .0056 percent, of the total 177,998,000 in 2003).

There is no need to restrict Southeast subsistence or sports sockeye fishing, since they do not have a significant negative impact on sustaining the resource. Those subsisting for sockeye salmon in Taku River only get the crumbs left over after the fish pass by the commercial fleet. About 1,525,000 sockeye were harvested in Southeast by commercial fisheries, according to the 2003 Alaska Commercial Salmon Harvests and Exvessel Values. Southeast subsistence sockeye harvest only accounts for 4.1 percent of the total harvest (64,670 out of 1,525,000).

In "Principles and Criteria for Sustainable Salmon Management, Evaluation Framework for the State of Alaska," Phillip R. Mundy stated, "It is reasonable for salmon harvest management to neglect stocks that form very small parts of the total harvest ... regulations would be evaluated for consistency with the priority for subsistence use called for by statute."

Sport fishing and subsistence fishing should not be regulated when fish are scarce, since commercial fishing has the greater impact with the least benefit to Alaskans. Eating the fish delivers 100 percent of the benefit to pioneer Alaskans. There should not be any regulations on any Alaskans eating wild food, when the main commercial harvest has the primary impact on depleting fish stocks.

Greg Hayes


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