Dear Governor Palin….

Dear Madam Governor…From One Fisherperson To Another
by Gerald A. Honigman

There are many things that I admire about you.

I wish you well and believe that if you give some further thought to issues that I will discuss below, you will find yourself in a much better position to attract many more voters–especially Independents–in your future endeavors.

Let me begin by first telling you a few stories…

About ten years ago, my son, Jonathan, and I were returning from a day’s fishing out on the Intracoastal Waterway near our home in Florida. We live on a one-block street that sits between that above estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. So, seeing you and your husband on television salmon fishing in Alaska triggers lots of understanding from these quarters. I believe that we both share a love of nature and a gratitude for that which G_d, via nature, provides.

Well, on that day mentioned above, as we were pulling our little boat out of the water, along came a commercial blue claw crabber complaining about how hard it was, since the new redfish laws went into effect, to catch all of the crabs that he wanted.

The blackened seafood craze out of New Orleans had placed a high demand on large reds, and the big breeders were fast disappearing–victims of modern commercial fishing advances and technology. Unfortunately, a similar story could be told about the fate of too many other species as well.

To try to save the red drum from virtual extinction, laws setting limits were passed giving reds far greater protection. As a result, the species began to make a decent comeback. That now brings us back to the crabber.

With about two dozen big, covered, slatted containers filled with crabs, their legs sticking through the spaces between the slats, the crabber decided to complain to me about those “environmentalists” who caused him so much hardship…

How so? Well, they were responsible for setting limits on how many reds could be taken, and since there were now more reds around, they were eating more of “his” and other crabbers’ blue claws. I believe my blood pressure shot up a hundred points at that moment.

Oh yes…perhaps I should also explain that I am a biology teacher–a specialist in ecological science (one of only fifty teachers in the entire state asked to write the teaching guidelines for these subjects.)

I turned to him and asked if he ever considered the impact that he and all of his buddies were having on the crab situation. It was like I was talking to myself.

Alright. One more story…

Early in the last century, it was decided that wolves, cougars, and other natural predators would be exterminated in the Kaibab Peninsula in Arizona to help the mule deer population.

Federal agents did their thing, and within a few years the deer had doubled their numbers. However, with no natural predation and hunting banned, the Kaibab deer herd continued to grow. Between 1906 and 1924, the herd increased from 3,000 to about 100,000 animals, far beyond the carrying capacity of the land. After the herd depleted its natural food supplies, malnutrition, disease, and starvation took their tolls. An ecosystem forced out of balance, the protected mule deer population plummeted to a few thousand survivors.

Okay, Sarah…get the picture? I believe you know what I’m getting at here…

While governor in Alaska, you were under pressure from your own version of my Florida blue claw crabber. Your successors will continue to be as well.

There are those who want to continue to exterminate wolves–shooting them from planes, and so forth–supposedly to protect game species like caribou for their own special interests…human hunting, to be more specific.

But, just as redfish lived in an ecological balance with crabs long before man was ever a consideration here, so too have predators everywhere lived–necessarily so–with other prey populations.

Madam Governor, you alienate thinking folks everywhere–the young, ecologically conscious, in particular–by endorsing such a blatantly cruel and repeatedly proven seriously flawed policy which I believe you yourself–a lover of nature and its essential balances–must know in your heart to be wrong.

I believe you potentially have a great political future ahead of you. Much of what you say and stand for is indeed admirable. Please consider reaching out to those Independents and others who might very well vote for you after a bit of reconsideration and fine tuning on your part of such issues as those dealt with above.

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