I congratulate the Juneau Empire for providing proof that there is life beyond our solar system. Printing the My Turn column on Dec. 22, 2005, by Tom Dawson did this. He misconstrued and misrepresented the whole IFQ argument.
The bottom line is this. The halibut resource is finite. To protect the resource for the present and the future, there has to be catch limits. The commercial fleet was limited by IFQs, a very painful but necessary procedure. There is little opposition in the commercial halibut fleet to mom and pop Alaskan going out in their Lund (or whatever make of boat) and catching all the halibut they can eat. The problem lies in the State Licensed Sport fish Business Owners & Guides' (SLSBO&G, Tom Dawson's term) unwillingness to cap their business. The SLSBO&Gs clients are in a large part tourists and other out of state visitors. It is unreasonable for there to be no limits on the growth of this business, that is in the business of removing halibut from the finite halibut resource.
There are basically two choices from here: We can let the SLSBO&Gs grow unchecked, competing directly on the same grounds with the same gear as mom and pop Alaskan, and taking IFQ pounds away from commercial fishermen who had to buy and borrow for them. Or we could treat the SLSBO&Gs the same as the other business sector using the halibut resource, by giving them IFQ.
Then mom-and-pop Alaskan can keep sport fishing with a liberal size and bag limit. The commercial halibut fleet can keep supplying the nation with fresh halibut (including those that cant afford a SLSBO&G) without their IFQ being eroded by the SLSBO&Gs.
In closing, let's call a spade a spade. An SLSBO&G is not a sportsman; it's a commercial enterprise every bit as much as the Patience, my boat that I catch IFQ halibut from.
Robert T. Mosher
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