Where’s support for local anglers?

In the Monday edition of the Peninsula Clarion there was an article by Elizabeth Earl describing the Alaska State Legislature considering a sockeye stamp for anglers. In the article it described the stamp being required for individual anglers, not personal-use fisheries (dipnetters), nor guide businesses that increase the traffic on both rivers to the point that local residents don’t want to fight the boat traffic and rude operations of some of those companies. Instead, those of us who moved to the Kenai Peninsula for the sport fishing and wildlife will help pay for facilities for personal-use and guided fisheries and only for the Kenai and Kasilof river systems, where we live! Is that a fair way to raise revenue for the Department of Fish and Game?

Why not charge more for personal-use fisheries and guide businesses? They want to benefit from the revenue that can be collected from residents of the peninsula and not contribute any additional funds but continue to inundate the rivers with people from outside the peninsula and the state. It amounts to taxing the residents of the peninsula so other anglers can enjoy the fisheries we once did without the crowds of recent years.

It’s obvious who would benefit from this stamp revenue. Ricky Gease, the executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association cited the Kasilof River needing fees to support portable toilets and cleanup. Not for the state park areas, but those that the drift boats use. And Ted Wellman, president of the Kenai River Special Management Area advisory board, supported the stamp for enforcement and support of the park. I don’t see any support of the local anglers who count on that fishery for their own use, only for support of the personal-use and guide businesses. If they want to contribute, raise the cost of the guide use and licensing and have personal-use fishery charged accordingly. Don’t put the onus on local residents. Next the legislators and Kenai River guide associations will want a special stamp for silvers and chums as well as sockeyes and kings in all waters, not just the peninsula. To their own benefit, of course.

Don’t tread on Kenai Peninsula residents.