Regarding “Publishing Purgatory” (Peninsula Clarion, Nov. 29), I attended the 2002 Board of Fish meeting in Anchorage. The story at that time was about an informative habitat report from the department and the chairman who had removed the most telling of slides. It was Chairman White that started the zero net loss of habitat directive and Chairman Coffey that buried it. It was the former that developed the sustainable fisheries policies and the latter that acted in concert with sportfish head, Hepler, to divert $50,000 in wake study funds for the Kenai River.
Why would the department squelch a habitat study? It was said “If you hang onto something long enough, it doesn’t matter what the conclusions are.” Maybe, but the damage is still done, probably irreversible. I have to wonder if impact to king salmon returns would have been mollified by some greater concern for in-river rearing and spawning habitat. The hook and release fishery where kings spawn is not a sustainable fishery unless the goal is to create a run of predominantly small jacks. Mission accomplished. What other useful reports have been buried?