Long time Peninsula resident and former Kenai River Sportfishing Inc. executive director Ben Ellis was appointed last month by former Governor Tony Knowles to fill the sport fish seat on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Ellis will be finishing out the term of Bob Penny who recently resigned, which means the next three meetings of the Council to be held in January, March and June. After that the seat will become available for gubernatorial appointment. "It's a huge honor to be on the council because there are 11 people that represent Northwest States, industry, processors, and the National Marine Fishery Service, and the seat that I'll be filling which represents sport fishing, which makes recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce," said Ellis. According to Ellis one of the issues that the Council will be addressing is the high salmon by-catch in the Gulf of Alaska, "What we're looking at is a Gulf of Alaska rationalization plan, looking at how we can make the fisheries in the Gulf of Alaska as efficient as possible," said Ellis.
The next meeting of the Council will be held in Seattle, it is the Council's policy to allow those areas being influenced by the decisions made by the Council to host the meetings. Ellis says his primary concerns are responsible fishing whether it is sport fishing or commercial fishing, reduction of by-catch, and habitat protection on a global basis. "We are so lucky to have the abundance of fish in this State, and it's our job and responsibility to be good stewards of the resource and still have a viable, strong, and energetic commercial fishery in federal waters," said Ellis.
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