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

Roundtable brings recreational fishing to the forefront of Federal Saltwater Management


September 1, 2016 | View PDF

The 2016 Kenai Classic Roundtable was held Wednesday, Aug. 17, at Kenai Peninsula College.

The 2016 Kenai Classic Roundtable, hosted by Kenai River Sportfishing Association (KRSA), was held Wednesday August 17th at Kenai Peninsula College. A topic at the forefront for both sport and commercial fishing interests was current and prospective management measures for national marine fisheries. The Classic Roundtable brought together U.S. Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and distinguished panelist to discuss what current measures are, how they can improve management, where they are being used and how they may be integrated into the national fisheries management toolbox.

A consistent message from the roundtable was that current practices and regulations were created for commercial fishing, which was the dominant economic use at the time that current management techniques were adopted through the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA), but now need to address the large sportfishing sector.

Over time, sportfishing has become a large economic driver in many communities, states and for the nation. As congress looks to reauthorize the MSA, it is important to consider the sportfishing community and adopt management methods that recognize the importance of sportfishing and are tailored specifically for it.

According to Mike Nussman, President of the American Sportfishing Association,

"when we speak of alternative management we're talking of management that's been used in recreational fisheries by state agencies for years so it's really not alternative to recreation; it's alternative to the way the Magnuson Act has worked in the past."

America's 11 million saltwater anglers spend $26.5 billion each year on fishing equipment, tackle, apparel and travel, creating 455,000 American jobs, generating $20.5 billion in income and contributing $70 billion to the American economy. According to government data, recreational fishing contributes more to the economy than many other industries that are more prominent in the public eye.

Since 2013, the Classic Roundtable has been convened to address national issues related to the recreational fishing industry and how they can be best addressed at the local, statewide and national level. KRSA in conjunction with event sponsor Yamaha Marine brings national and state experts to Soldotna to discuss current hurdles and opportunities facing the industry and to formulate a long-term plan to confront the challenges while supporting the opportunities that exist.

"KRSA is proud to host this yearly event, with the hope that by bringing a diverse group of sport fishing advocates together to discuss issues that affect us all, we will be able to provide a platform, a discussion really, on how to move our common causes forward with the understanding that there are many stakeholders affected by management decisions at the federal level. Not the least of which is the fish and water resource itself.," says Ricky Gease, Executive Director of KRSA.


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