In the Dec. 19 Juneau Empire, Bruce Warner of Homer was afforded the opportunity to express his opinion on halibut allocation between commercial and sport fishermen. I'm just saddened that someone without a basic knowledge of the Pacific halibut resource and its international management could be given a forum to espouse unrealistic solutions to a serious allocation issue.
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Mr. Warner's assertion that Pacific halibut is an exclusive Alaska resource (analogous to North Slope oil) and that all fishery resources in the Lower 48 are divided equally between commercial and sport interests are not only 100 percent untrue but just plain irrelevant to the issue at hand. Charter boat operators run commercial businesses that rely on harvesting halibut. They are not sportsmen and should stop masquerading as such. They compete directly with Alaska sport fishermen on the same fishing grounds to harvest halibut under hire to primarily out of state clients. The charter boat commercial halibut industry seeks unrestricted growth at the expense of existing Alaska sportsmen and commercial long-line fishermen. All the whining about wanting a higher percentage of the resource while trying to pit sportsmen against longliners is a shameless attempt to hijack the resource by the commercial charter boat industry.
How about stepping up to the table and addressing this issue in a rational manner? The commercial long-line fleet made the hard decision to do so more than a decade ago. The existing long-line fleet and Alaska sportsmen will continue to suffer if the commercial charter industry is allowed unlimited expansion
James L. Larson
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