It’s no surprise that commercial fishing is the primary economic engine of Kodiak. The salmon industry is under fire once again, and the fishing community is faced with the burden of fending off attacks to an established system that has provided opportunity for generations of fishermen, cannery employees, and support industry members to create a living in this small coastal community since before statehood.
These attacks come in the form of proposals that would ask the Board of Fish to forget the historic nature of the Kodiak salmon fishery. These proposals ask the board to forget the importance of all species of salmon to the fishery and focus on the most contentious — sockeye. These proposals ask the board to forget about the complex nature of the Kodiak fishery and the ability of Kodiak’s management plans to effectively provide escapement to and yield from over 400 salmon producing river systems. These proposals represent a potential 1/3 reduction in the value of the Kodiak salmon fishery, and Kodiak cannot afford the economic loss these proposals would affect if adopted. One of Kodiak’s largest fisheries in terms of jobs and revenue from landings taxes is in jeopardy. The wealth of Kodiak’s fishing resource is at alarming levels, with decreases in halibut abundance, poor tanner crab recruitments, and a closure of the federal cod fishery and yet outside interests want to further curtail our fishery under false pretenses that Kodiak salmon fishermen have other available resources.
The salmon industry needs your help. You have the opportunity to impact change. Public testimony will be heard starting this Saturday and your opinion as a fisherman, concerned citizen, business owner, etc. needs to be heard. Let’s show the Board of Fish that our community is connected and concerned about the future of our fisheries.