The Alaska Salmon Alliance (ASA) is leading an initiative to expand the discussion about Cook Inlet salmon fisheries. Long known for its divisive nature and the conflict between user groups, the Cook Inlet salmon harvest is both an economic and cultural engine for the Kenai Peninsula and Cook Inlet watershed. Founded in 2012 by a group of concerned fish processors, the Alaska Salmon Alliance aims to transcend the different user groups and gear types of Cook Inlet fisheries by emphasizing the points of consensus and shared interest in conserving salmon and ensuring sustainable fisheries for generations to come.
Arni Thomson, Executive Director for the ASA, said the group’s efforts are geared toward building an inclusive community of informed resource users through trust, accurate information, and promotion of science and cooperation. “We’ve had some really positive feedback from the greater Cook Inlet fishing community,” said Thomson. “We’re looking to include any and all fishermen and women who are interested in hearing new ideas and new voices. We’re looking for solutions.”
As part of their ongoing efforts to find cooperation and consensus in the fishing community, the Alaska Salmon Alliance is hosting two open house forums in the Anchorage and MatSu area. The first will be in Anchorage on October 28th at the BP Energy Center from 6-8:30pm. The second will be in Palmer on October 29th at the Palmer Train Depot from 6-8:30pm. These events are free, open to the public, and all fishermen from all user groups and gear types are welcome to attend. The event is being coordinated by ASA’s community outreach and education specialist, Hannah Harrison.
“The open house is designed to be a neutral atmosphere where fishermen are going to be asked to identify problems in the fishery and come up with new approaches to thinking about them and solving them,” said Harrison. The event will be facilitated and all are welcome, though Harrison noted that the open house will not be business as usual.
“We aren’t interested in rehashing old prejudices or assigning blame. This is an opportunity for fishermen to participate and shape a new dialogue, meet other like-minded folks, and move away from this fight everyone is tired of having,” said Harrison.