The controversy stirred over two appointments to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is gathering momentum.
At its March 21 meeting, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly rejected a proposed resolution asking Gov. Tony Knowles to withdraw his nominations of David Benton and sport fishing advocate Bob Penney to the council and try again.
On Tuesday, commercial fishing advocate Joseph Malatesta Sr. asked the assembly to reconsider that resolution based on his contention that Knowles failed to consult recreational and commercial fishers before making council appointments, as he is bound to do by regulations.
Nikiski assembly member Jack Brown moved for reconsideration during the assembly's Tuesday meeting, but his motion failed. Several members argued that the council nominations are outside the assembly's purview.
In Juneau, however, Sen. Robin Taylor, R-Wrangell, sent a letter to Knowles requesting such reconsideration.
Taylor said the governor's failure to consider the commercial fishers' concerns "made a mockery of the appointment process."
"Further politicizing this board will not enhance either its effectiveness or credibility," Taylor wrote in his letter.
The Senate Resources Committee, of which Taylor is vice chair, is scheduled to take up the issue today. J
Knowles' recommendations for appointment are reviewed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, who then appoints council members.
The council oversees all federal fisheries in Alaska.
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