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‘Northern pike are delicious: Suck it up, princess!’

A colorful blog comment causes CIAA's Lisa Ka'aihue to reflect on how she's been spoiled by great Southcentral salmon.

by | March 25, 2024

Lisa Ka'aihue working a seiner
CIAA’s Lisa Ka’aihue working a seiner following her graduation from college. Photo provided

One of the things I love about working at Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association (CIAA) is the opportunity to share all the neat and wonderful things about Alaska salmon and aquaculture. I also get to work with amazing individuals and teams inside and outside of the organization that work on salmon conservation projects, including invasive species.

As many of us across organizations and agencies are starting to ramp up for an upcoming season of managing invasive species in Alaska, I wanted to share this short story with you. 

A colorful commenter

Two years ago, we started this “News” blog on our website to share information not only from CIAA but also from our partners in the community. Last year we shared an article from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on invasive northern pike and how it has already proved itself a threat to our valuable salmon populations in Southcentral Alaska.

The article generated a few comments on social media and sent directly to us. Some positive, some inquisitive, and some were, for lack of a better word, snarky. By far the most succinct, negative comment sent in was, “Pike are my fave fish to catch and eat….suck it up princess!” 

Of course, I did not take it personally. The comment wasn’t really directly at anyone, except our “Get in Touch” form on our website. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to welcome being called a “princess” in this context. 

Clearly the commenter was using the term “princess” to refer to a person who is consider to be spoiled or overly demanding. When it comes to Alaska salmon, I am probably both of these things. I grew up in a commercial fishing family setnetting and gillnetting for salmon in Cook Inlet and gillnetting and seining for salmon in Prince William Sound. 

Am I spoiled? Maybe so

After college (paid for by deckhanding for my family all those years), I sought out jobs where I was part of a larger effort to advocate for the protection of Alaska’s natural resources including salmon. I have been privileged to learn so much more about salmon and its importance to Alaskans through those jobs; from interviewing subsistence users in their villages to supporting research and outreach regarding invasive species threats including northern pike and European green crab.

I have been around Southcentral salmon runs all my life and know the incredible importance of those runs. Am I spoiled? Yes. Overly demanding. Yep, I have been accused of that one too, in more ways than one. Just ask my coworkers or even my family members or friends. 

Although demanding does not usually yield positive results, I continue to remain committed to asking that we all pay attention to the threats to salmon and do everything we can to prevent negative impacts. And invasive pike are a huge threat to our salmon runs in Southcentral Alaska.

So, yes, when it comes to invasive species threats to Alaska salmon, I am a princess and I hope you’re one, too.

Call To Action

Learn more about invasive species in Alaska through the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.

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