Former Fish and Game employee corrects record on his performance

Posted: Friday, January 23, 2004

Former Board of Fisheries member Dan Coffey states (Peninsula Clarion, Jan. 20) that the Kenai River Sockeye Salmon Model was not presented for peer review by scientists or the public prior to just before the Board of Fish meeting in 1999. This is not correct. The model was developed over several months and in consultation with a number of scientists, including Dr. Ray Hilborn from the Fisheries Research Institute at the University of Washington.

In addition, prior to presentation to the public, it was reviewed by a number of scientists within the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, including Sport Fish Division staff.

The public was presented the model in a variety of forums prior to the Board of Fish meeting. First, it was presented at advisory committee meetings which took place well in advance of the board meeting; second, it was presented at two special public meetings in Kenai-Soldotna and Anchorage; third, it was made available via CD for the public to interact with and examine; and finally, staff was available to meet with individual groups to discuss and review the model.

Mr. Coffey states "Mr. Tarbox was reprimanded by the commissioner's office for the lateness of the report." This is not correct. No commissioner ever reprimanded me in my 20-year career with the Department of Fish and Game. In fact, I have 19 outstanding evaluations (the highest rating) and one highly acceptable performance rating from the department. My evaluation for the year in question was outstanding and referenced the innovative development of the Kenai Sockeye Salmon Model. In addition, I received the Alaska Department of Fish and Game manager of the year award in 1991. I am willing to make my evaluations and records open to any unbiased observer to verify this information.

Mr. Coffey states that I am a consultant to "commercial fisheries." I did some small, part-time consultant work in 2002 for a commercial fishing organization, and my income from this was less than 10 percent of my retirement income. The task I performed was to present factual information to the organization so its members could formulate their positions on Upper Cook Inlet fishery proposals. They argued their positions before the Board of Fish.

I received no compensation in 2000, 2001 or 2003 from the commercial fishing industry nor have I ever held a commercial fishing permit or received any income from commercial fishing.

Mr. Coffey states "Mr. Tarbox was not an independent and unbiased voice of science. ... (H)e was and continues to be an advocate for one group of stakeholders." Mr. Coffey's opinion is his perception of reality. My perception is that it is typical, at Board of Fish meetings, for one user group or board member to selectively use biological data to achieve an allocation agenda.

Mr. Coffey is entitled to his opinion on my role at the Board of Fish, but he stands corrected about my performance, official reprimand and my use of the scientific process.

Kenneth E. Tarbox, Soldotna

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