In a move unprecedented since the salmon-short days of the 1970s in the 49th state, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has halted commercial fishing in Cook Inlet and nearly all other fishing for Kenai River sockeye salmon in an effort to meet a Kenai spawning goal.
Whether any state fishery managers will end up fired when the dusts settles remains to be seen although the state agency has long been proud of a position voiced by its first commissioner, Andy Anderson:
“Gentlemen, the governor has instructed me to return the salmon runs to their former abundance regardless of the pain that is inflicted on the people. I’m charging each one of you to make sure every stream in your district is filled to the maximum spawning capability. Now, if you allow an overescapement, depriving the fishermen of their livelihood, you can expect to be criticized. But on a personal level, gentlemen, I want you to understand that if you allow an underescapement, you can expect to be fired.