Changes to Board of Fish meetings should not surprise anyone

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2003

The article in Sunday's Peninsula Clarion on Board of Fish cuts should really come as no surprise to anyone. For the last 10 years, the Board of Fish has taken up Cook Inlet out of cycle many times, often in an effort to reallocate fish, holding the majority of meetings in Girdwood or Anchorage.

Chairman Ed Dersham voted many times on Cook Inlet issues while he had a self-admitted conflict of interest. In many of these meetings the board did not bother to take public testimony or even have a day or two for testimony locally in Homer or Soldotna.

In the recent past, the Board of Fish out-of-cycle meetings were held for Kenai cohos, winter kings and early run Kenai kings. Oddly, after the Sport Fish Division spent $40,000 on consultants who determined 88 percent of respondents were not in favor of a hook-and-release king fishery (early Kenai kings), the Board of Fish initiated one irregardless of the consultants' survey and contrary to what testimony there was against it.

Basically the board has wasted a lot of money advancing reallocation in the last decade while the salmon industry is in the toilet. For all those voters out there, remember how this was on the watch of the illustrious Tony Knowles. Dersham remains chairman, a Knowles appointee, and part of the wasteful legacy that has helped further remove the "process" from the public. Thanks, Ed.

Now if you could just get rid of the redundant committee process, that would cut board meetings in half!

John McCombs, Ninilchik

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