Salmon ban hurts Kodiak retailers

Posted: Monday, July 07, 2008

KODIAK - Kodiak retailers are feeling the financial fallout from a recent ban on some recreational salmon fishing in the Karluk, Ayakulik and Buskin rivers.

State officials said the three rivers have had the lowest June weir counts on record.

Martha Sikes, who runs the Karluk Lodge, said she has been forced to shut down because of the lack of business.

"Everybody and their uncle fished this place," she said. "Now I've never seen the river this quiet. I've been here 30 years."

Others said they've had no drop in business.

The Best Western Kodiak Inn said business is good.

"Surprisingly, we haven't had a change," general manager Susan Johnson said.

The hotel's guests include corporate clients and people who are fishing in the Pasagshak River, where the salmon are running strong.

Kodiak Island Convention and Visitors Bureau also reports no negative impacts.

"I've been querying our members and they've had few cancellations due to the fish or even fuel prices," said executive director Janet Buckingham.

Tourists are finding alternate activities, she said.

"They're going after different fish, like Dolly Vardens or pinks," she said. "People are coming anyway. There's no pain. Everyone is feeling good."

Others haven't been as fortunate.

"We're not seeing sales like we used to. Lots of folks are struggling to find a place to fish," Jesse Glamann, tackle manager of Mack's Sport Shop said.

Neighboring Cy's Sporting Goods was experiencing the same slowdown.

"We're definitely seeing less traffic," employee Dan Lesch said.

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