ANCHORAGE, March 14, 2018 — Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunleavy today denounced the decision of the Walker Administration’s Department of Fish and Game to impose radical restrictions on the king salmon season for the Susitna River system and Upper Cook Inlet.
“This unwarranted decision will deal a terrible blow to many Mat-Su businesses that depend on a thriving sport fishing economy, as well as thousands of Mat-Su residents who cherish this annual recreational tradition,” Dunleavy said.
Dunleavy observed that the decision to restrict king salmon fishing was based on a pre-season outlook, and not a biologically reliable forecast. Further, that in circumstances like this, sport fishing seasons can begin with restrictive measures in place until the mark recapture studies and weirs on key streams in Northern Cook Inlet, run by ADFG, presents enough data to allow informed decision on management.
“However one thinks a wisely-managed Department of Fish and Game should behave, this just isn’t it,” commented Dunleavy. “The folks who know the most about the fisheries resources in the Mat-Su recommended some modest, prudent steps to ensure that we preserve our salmon resource, including a reduced annual catch limit. But instead of implementing these sensible conservation measures, the Department opted for the ‘nuclear option’ without regard to the impact of the local economy or opportunity to Valley anglers. That decision is indefensible based on the data we have. It’s a shoddy way to be managing our fisheries.”