Fisheries board postpones December meeting

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Alaska Board of Fisheries has decided to postpone its December meeting in Cordova at which it was to take up the future of dipnetting on the Copper River.

The meeting was postponed because one member of the board resigned and another is absent. John White of Anchorage recently resigned from the board and Russell Nelson wasn't able to attend the Dec. 8-15 meeting.

Now, the meeting will be held sometime between January and March in Cordova, said Diana Cote, executive director of the fish board.

The delay means people will have more time to comment on proposals involving issues such as dipnetting at Chitina and king salmon fishing in the Gulkana and Klutina rivers, Cote said.

The comment deadline was originally Nov. 24 but will be extended until two weeks before a new meeting date. It also means the fish board could have a new look by the time it reschedules the meeting, depending on what Alaska's new governor, Frank Murkowski, does when he takes office on Dec. 2.

The meeting must be held before the end of March if the state is going to get any new regulations on the books for the coming fishing season, Cote said.

While Gov. Tony Knowles could appoint someone to replace White before leaving office on Dec. 2, spokesman Bob King said he won't do so.

''At this late date he thought it was inappropriate to put someone in that would quite likely be replaced by the incoming administration,'' King said.

Murkowski could forward the names of Knowles' appointments to the Legislature for confirmation or he could come up with his own candidates.

In addition to the vacancy created by the resignation of White, three members of the board are temporary replacements that were named by Knowles, a Democrat, in July. The Republican-led Legislature failed to confirm any of Knowles' appointments to either the fish or game boards before adjourning in May.

There are five unconfirmed members on the game board and three unconfirmed seats and one open seat on the fish board.

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