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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 3, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Poll shows Alaskans care about their salmon habitat

The Alaska Chapter of The Nature Conservancy polled about 500 Alaskan registered voters, and the vast majority supported policies for protecting salmon habitat.

In a news release by the conservancy, 96-percent of Alaskans surveyed say salmon are essential to the Alaskan way of life, and 97-percent say salmon are an important part of the Alaska economy.

Statewide, 89 percent of Alaskans say that even in tough economic times, it is important to maintain funding for salmon conservation.

Alaskans’ connection to salmon is even stronger than we realized, Randy Hagenstein, director of The Nature Conservancy in Alaska said in a news release. Across the board, Alaskans truly understand the kind of habitat salmon need, and they support the investment necessary to keep that habitat healthy.

The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit conservation group in Alaska, leads salmon habitat projects in Bristol Bay, the Matanuska-Susitna Basin, and the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska.

These poll results show conservation projects that keep salmon populations and salmon habitat healthy enjoy considerable support among a broad cross-section of Alaskans.

The survey also found that:

When asked about a number of pressing issues the ―health and abundance of salmon in Alaska ranks as a top concern among Alaskans – on par with other major policy topics such as the federal budget deficit and unemployment.

93 percent of Alaskans say protecting Bristol Bay is important (66 percent extremely or very important) and 91 percent of southeast Alaskans say it is important to protect the Tongass National Forest (69 percent extremely or very important).

78 percent of residents of the Matanuska-Susitna Basin report fishing for food for the family in the last year, and 95 percent of Mat-Su residents said salmon are essential to the Alaskan way of life.

More than eight out of ten Alaskans say protecting the forest, tundra and wetlands around streams is as important as protecting the streams themselves.

58 percent of all Alaska voters and 69 percent of southeast Alaskans surveyed indicated they would have a more favorable impression of a community leader in Alaska who worked to maintain the level of funding that helps protect and manage salmon, salmon streams and the lands along those streams.

97 percent of Alaskans say salmon are an important part of the Alaska economy.

Two-thirds of Alaskans eat salmon at least once a month.

Statewide, 79 percent of Alaskans are concerned about pollution of rivers, lakes and streams (55% very or extremely concerned) which is on par with pocketbook issues like unemployment and the deficit.

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