Following an earlier move from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly, Kenai City Council last night passed a resolution to oppose a proposed ballot initiative to ban set nets in urban areas.
The resolution was brought forward by Council Members Brian Gabriel and Bob Molloy, and saw unanimous support…
Cm. Molloy: “It would have a really harmful economic effect, not only on set net businesses and families, but also on other businesses that do business with them and the City of Kenai.
Vice-Mayor Marquis: “There’s be a majority of people voting on this that are thousands of miles away from any set net sites and they aren’t going to understand how important they are to our communities.
Mayor Porter: “Our whole audience this evening was just full of local people who are set netters.”
Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association President Rob Williams called the move “ballot box biology,” and Vice Mayor Ryan Marquis agreed, but said it is “deceiving” and “smacked of cowardice,” as it appears to be counting on voters removed from the situation to change local fisheries.
David Martin of Clam Gulch was one of ten who testified last night…
Martin: Certain things shouldn’t be done shouldn’t be done to people’s livelihoods and people’s businesses, so what’s next? It’s a slippery road to go down.”
Council members commented that they received more correspondence on this issue than any other in the past decade. Mayor Porter said she didn’t hear a single comment against the resolution, and all the support was from local residents.
Paul Dale of Snug Harbor Seafoods said processors can’t rely on the drift fleet to take the place of set netters, a talking point confirmed by Fish & Game Commissioner Cora Campbell earlier this week. Campbell explained that the extensive use of the drift fleet in 2012 was allowed because of specific tides and winds that year, but cannot be a long-term solution.