JUNEAU – The Alaska Board of Fisheries announced Monday that it will meet this Thursday, January 27, to reconsider the location for its Southeast and Yakutat Finfish and Shellfish meeting. Southeast legislators are urging the public to take part in the limited public testimony which concludes on Wednesday.
The board had previously decided to relocate the meeting from Ketchikan to Anchorage after concern over COVID-19, leaving Southeast communities only the option of flying to Anchorage in order to voice their comments and concerns.
“It means a great deal to Ketchikan to be able to host the Board of Fisheries. I know that after the decision to move the Southeast and Yakutat meeting to Anchorage, a lot of people put in a lot of hard work to make sure that we would be able to accommodate them, and I appreciate the board’s willingness to reconsider,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I- Ketchikan). “The Board of Fisheries is such an important public process, and it’s critical that these meetings be as accessible as possible to those who would be the most directly affected by these decisions.”
“The guiding principles behind the Board of Fisheries’ advisory committee and the public testimony structure are local input and providing impacted stakeholders with maximum access to the board,” said Speaker Louise Stutes (R- Kodiak, Yakutat). “Moving this meeting out of Ketchikan would undermine the public process and impact the board’s ability to make sound decisions. I sincerely hope they make the correct decision.”
“This is an opportunity for the public to let the Board of Fisheries know how important it is to have this meeting in the region where the Board’s decisions will have the most impact. I appreciate the Board of Fisheries holding a hearing to decide if they should move their Southeast finfish meeting back to Southeast,” said Rep. Andi Story (D- Juneau).
“A Southeast Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting should be held in… Southeast Alaska. This is not a bold assertion; it is common sense. I hope common sense prevails,” added Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D- Sitka).
The legislators also wish to thank the many people in Ketchikan who came together on such short notice to secure a venue for this meeting. The Board of Fisheries will be taking written testimony only, due by Wednesday, January 26. Written testimony can be emailed to the Boards Support Section at firstname.lastname@example.org or faxed to (907) 465-6094.
Thursday’s meeting will be livestreamed to the public at www.boardoffisheries.adfg.alaska.gov