The Covid pandemic has derailed the AK Board of Fisheries meeting that planned to meet in-person from Jan.4-15 in Ketchikan.
The Board oversees management of Alaska commercial, sport, subsistence and personal use fisheries in state waters out to three miles.
The meeting, set to address 157 Southeast and Yakutat fishery issues, has been “postponed to a future date and location to be determined” according to Doug Vincent-Lang, Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner in a press release.
“Cases in Southeast are increasing in almost every community. With the rise in cases post the holiday season, already key staff have contracted COVID-19 and are unable to participate. In addition, the nation and Alaska are facing serious transportation difficulties as weather and the pandemic are seriously hampering travel in the near-term,” Glenn Haight, BOF Executive Director said in the announcement.
Adding to the challenge is the resignation of newest BOF member, Indy Walton of Soldotna, who Gov. Dunleavy appointed last September. Walton named “medical issues and his busy business schedule as considerations in his decision.”
Walton was named to the BOF by Gov. Dunleavy nearly three months beyond a legal deadline, and he was not yet approved by the Alaska legislature. He has fished for salmon commercially for nearly 40 years at Kodiak and Bristol Bay and also owns a fishing lodge on the Kvichak River.
Nominations for Walton’s seat will be accepted until Dunleavy names his appointment, said deputy director of communications, Jeff Turner. The appointee must then be approved by the Alaska Legislature.
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