The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Rocking the Boat


The following is from the editorial page of the Dec. 15, 1988 Seward Phoenix LOG.

REMEMBER THE SCALLOPS... Not only is the continuing research at the Institute of Marine Science exciting, it’s valuable. And it’s so important to the development of fishery management programs, we find it difficult to understand the state’s reluctance to fully support the facility and the University of Alaska scientists.

In these days of declining state revenues, and all the talk of diversifying the state’s economy to lessen our dependence on the oil industry, it makes no sense to shrug off the importance of marine research. The marine resources off Alaska’s coast are renewable, Year after year, and long before oil, the salmon, halibut and crab have generated jobs and revenue for Alaskans. Yet, management programs have been hit and miss.

Take for example the absence of salmon in Prince William Sound during the early part of the season. What happened to the wild stocks? If it weren’t for the hatchery fish, we might have had a total bust. Remember the late 1960s and early ‘70s when scallops were a mainstay of the local economy? What happened? They were here, then all of a sudden the industry disappeared. We just don’t know. There’s lots of theories, most based on shallow and inadequate research because there’s no money to do the job that’s so necessary for wise and careful management.

If the state really wants to help the fishermen plan for the future, then one of the surest ways to do that is to put more money into research so the scientists can tell the management experts what needs to be done to insure that the salmon, halibut and crab will be there in the 21st century.

MORE COAL IS ON ITS WAY... There’s talk of reopening the coal fields near Palmer. The 15-year supply of coal would be trucked to that community, loaded on rail cars and shipped to Japan through the Port of Seward. That’s good news.

For over 60 years, coal was mined from the Wishbone Hill fields. Then, when Cook Inlet gas became commercially available to Anchorage, the mine shut down, thowing scores of people out of work. Those were bad times for Palmer.

Now the future is brighter, not only for Palmer but for Seward. With another operating coal mine, there’ll be more traffic through the port, creating more jobs and helping to fulfill the destiny envisioned by those who settled on the shores of Resurrection Bay in 1905.

WINTER SPORTS... A little bit of interest goes a long way. This year, we’ve been watching two groups push forward with their plans for more organized activities for kids. The Seward Nordic Ski Club is again competing, but this time at the high school level for the first time. While they’re gliding across the snow, other kids from the East Peninsula are skating across the ice with hockey sticks. Yes, folks cross-country skiing and hockey have arrived!

The Nordic Ski Club and the Moose Pass Sportsmen’s Club are volunteer organizations. They’re out there raising funds to buy equipment, build facilities and travel. They don’t have the big budgets that other established programs have, but give them time and we’ll soon see strong competition coming form the Seward area.

Instead of just waiting, how about giving them some encouragement.


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