Catch-and-release column off base

As a longtime Alaskan who loves our resources and special way of life immensely, I found the Dec. 4 Peninsula Clarion’s “Outdoor View” column offensive and downright scary.

Did the author really just compare catch and release fishing to roasting cats for fun?

Seriously, Les Palmer is entitled to his opinion and the Peninsula Clarion can publish his inflammatory rubbish if they wish but what purpose does it serve? If Les truly believes that catch-and-release is wrong, that’s his prerogative. Don’t practice it then, good sir. But don’t stop me or others from doing it, and don’t spin it to make us out to be the villains.

As a fishing guide who has lived and worked here for nearly 30 years, I’ve got broad shoulders and can take a poke or two. If Les doesn’t like me or my industry, I can live with that. But don’t spread propaganda and mistruths by attacking a conservation practice that is not only proven effective world-wide but hugely successful right here in many of our local trout and steelhead fisheries. By comparing catch-and-release fishing to blatant torture, a dangerous Walt Disney mindset that should have every Alaskan on guard, Mr. Palmer shows his true colors. If we are to follow his twisted logic that the widely accepted conservation tool used when demand of our resource exceeds supply is truly evil and should be outlawed, then the next thing you know we won’t be allowed to hike or photograph moose or bear, because it creates stress in their natural environment and is thereby “torture” to these poor animals. Instead, we can only invade their habitat with the purpose of killing them.

But at least Les Palmer is transparent. He comes right out and says he would rather have the king fisheries closed entirely than to allow you or I, or our children or grandchildren, to enjoy it in the future. How sad is that?

What I think bothers me most about Mr. Palmer’s rant is the tone and intent of his selfish narrative. Les Palmer has a rare opportunity and a special platform to champion a genuine conservation option, yet he opts to divide user groups and create turmoil in a community that doesn’t need more turmoil. We’ve had hatred and finger-pointing here for eons and quite frankly it’s getting old. Yet Les doesn’t offer any genuine solutions to our king salmon crisis; he’d rather just ignore the facts, attack people and push his own agenda.

Sounds a lot like our national “leaders” right now, doesn’t it?