Opinions expressed in commentary on KCAW are those of the author, and are not necessarily shared by the station’s board, staff, or volunteers.
Dear Governor Walker,
There is a very serious movement afoot that threatens all Southeast Alaskan coastal communities.
It has nothing to do with the abundance of King Salmon in Alaskan waters or the ocean survival rates of young salmon. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has shown itself to be capable of protecting our local stocks through science-based management. An international, closed-door treaty process, is threatening to remove our rights to catch King Salmon.
The Pacific Salmon Treaty is now being negotiated between Alaska, Canada and the Lower 48. It will decide the amount of access that all Alaskans have to King Salmon for the next ten years. The current situation threatens the survival of sport, commercial, charter and subsistence fishermen.
At the Salmon Forum in Sitka, our Chief Negotiator Charlie Swanton said that “85% of the fish we are catching are someone else’s fish.” He was arguing that many fish caught in Alaska are not of Alaskan origin and therefore we should accept further cuts to our king salmon harvest. He made it abundantly clear that he is not negotiating in Alaska’s interest.
Since the beginning of the treaty thirty years ago, little has changed regarding the origin of the Chinook stocks and negotiators have decided equity practices between Alaska, Canada and the lower 48. Alaska has given up over 62 percent of its all-gear quota and currently Alaska’s team is conceding another ten percent cut.
Governor Walker, you have spoken of being one hundred percent behind our local fisheries. Please tell your team not to sign a treaty that gives away our King Harvest. While Washington has increased its harvest by 42 percent in the past thirty years, Alaska has lost out on 62 percent. This is a resource that sustains our industry and should not be sent south of the border. As we all know, you give our industries away, we won’t get them back.
Southeast Alaskan Fisherman