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Salmon Out of Season

Word has it that teenage “bad-boy” Levi Johnston of the Wasilla Warriors ice hockey team and daddy-to-be of 17 year-old Bristol Palin’s baby was arrested last year for poaching salmon out of season. We’re not political people but that pains us.

By its own mission statement and policy, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, seeks to protect, maintain, and improve Alaska’s fish, game, and aquatic plant resources. Fishing “seasons” are part of this mission. Good idea. Alaska is our nation’s only arctic state, holds more than 50% of the nation’s offshore waters, two-thirds of the nation’s coastline, 40% of the nation’s surface water, and over 50% of the nation’s wetlands and total fish harvest. In other words, Alaska’s fishing policies affect all of us. (How many of us know that this year, in the Pacific Northwest, salmon season was cancelled because we’re running out of salmon).

Even if most of us just shrug this incident off as normal redneck kid fun, (what else is there to do in Alaska besides hang-out, fish and feck?), it raises an important point about what we eat, when, why and what the kids think. For Levi, it may have been the thrill of the forbidden. Maybe Levi saw what the adults do — rare food ingredients prized precisely because of their scarcity or magical properties (wild alaskan fish oil anyone?).

But, like your momma said, “what-if-everyone-did-it?” Levi needs a lesson. Whatever he learns about fatherhood, politics, keeping your mouth shut, trousers zipped, and head down, he also needs to learn we’re all connected and he should show a little respectfor the food chain. If he, and all of us, do not, maybe one day Alaska too will have no salmon season.

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