Those of us in the salmon industry know we are in big trouble. Farmed salmon have literally taken over the market place. Last season was the final straw: The prices were so low that many fishermen couldn't afford to fish and many who did fish had limited markets for their catch. To cap off a disastrous season, Gov. Knowles declared the 2002 salmon season an economic emergency.
The job of salvaging the salmon industry will fall on the shoulders of our next governor. As far as I am concerned, Fran Ulmer is the clear choice for that job.
I have personally known Fran since our children were in preschool together over 20 years ago. At that time, Fran was a special assistant to Gov. Hammond. It was during the Hammond years that fundamental programs such as the limited-entry, non-profit hatcheries and the state loan program for boats and permits were implemented. These programs are vital to the recovery of the fishing industry now. She shows the same integrity, knowledge and commitment to our industry today as she did when I first met her.
As the campaign is heating up during the final days, it is hard to see the real candidate because of all the misleading rhetoric. I believe that if you listen to Fran on the campaign trail, read her interviews in the last two issues of the Alaska Fisherman's Journal and watch her debates, you will agree with me that she is the best choice to lead the recovery of the salmon industry for all Alaskans.