Opinion: Ignorance to protecting Alaska’s salmon

Opinion: Ignorance to protecting Alaska’s salmon

Ben Brown’s recent piece on Ballot Measure 1 suggests he’s ignorant of the real issues pertaining to protecting Alaska salmon. Perhaps Brown isn’t aware salmon have been extirpated throughout their historical range due to industrialization and habitat loss but one would think his tenure at the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission would have clued him into that. Maybe he thinks Alaska salmon are too big to fail?

Brown couched his opposition in two specious arguments. First, he suggested that because the Legislature didn’t pass a bill similar to the initiative, the ballot measure is “bad policy.” Newsflash, these are the same folks who’ve spent three years failing to fix the budget crisis. Why would there be any expectation they’d pass a bill addressing a situation he referred to as “an eternal source of tension”? Regardless, legislative inaction is a major reason the measure has proceeded.

Brown also argued the initiative process doesn’t allow agencies to weigh in. Again, Brown is baiting his hook with a crimson herring. Numerous forums have been held to inform people, agencies included, about the initiative and debate its implications. Brown appears to suggest only state agencies have the wisdom necessary to develop protections for our resources. This condescending bureaucratic elitism is nonsense.

Even the best fisheries managers can’t manage fish when they don’t have the tools necessary to protect fish habitat. Although we can’t protect salmon from changes in the ocean, we can help ensure their freshwater habitat is well-managed by standing for salmon Nov. 6.

Mark Kaelke,


• Mark Kaelke is a former fly fishing outfitter and charter operator and is currently employed by Trout Unlimited. My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire.