Les Palmer's latest piece is interesting and got me thinking.
It seems a little bipolar to me. I get the first couple paragraphs were he disagrees with the subsistence decision (I think we've kicked that horse enough here) and KRSA's goals of packing as many people onto the river as possible, however he quickly turns the corner and says he feels that the KRSA-dominated BOF has been fair and balanced over the last several years. I suspect he has not been paying close attention...
Les, you may agree with the decisions of the board to pass unproven "conservation" measures and allocate more fish to inriver users while ignoring habitat issues - that is your right, however the ends do not justify the means. The closed-door deals, shady "scientific" studies, agenda-rigging, and board generated proposals that were utilized to make recent decisions completely exclude guys like you and me from the process, and does not represent fairness or balance no matter what user group is on the winning end.
Interesting that the games are still going on - first with the snubbing of Maw for the ADFG commissioner position, now with the legislative agenda regarding his confirmation hearings - would be interesting to get a little more info on exactly why subcommittee confirmation hearings were scheduled so soon only to be cancelled due to "communication" - all of this is out of the norm I believe. I suspect this is the result of Ricky's recent trip to Juneau (although he is NOT a lobbyist, wink) and a KRSA/Matsu letter-writing campaign...
This whole premise is silly on several levels - that the board must or even can be "balanced" with respect to sport/commercial/subsistence interests, and that somehow that balance includes at least 4 members who are aligned to the KRSA/Matsu anti-commercial Jihad. Johnstone used to be a commercial fisherman - why was his seat considered a sportfish seat?
Perhaps even more offensive is Les' statement that Maw is unfit to serve for the same reason Brent Johnson was - he is a commercial fisherman in Cook Inlet, thus will be a "lightning rod for conflict"!?!? Seriously? This I take personally, given the circumstances. The complete shutdown of my fishery in 2012 and the ballot initiative which quickly followed were what prompted me and others to get involved in fish politics - not an effort for more, but simply an effort to survive. We took interest in the process and tried to participate in a fair and honest way, only to realize that the current process was anything but. I have since been vocal about unethical behavior and illegitimate organizations/nonprofit charities. Am I now unfit to pursue political office? Am I also a "lightning rod for conflict" because I help expose illegal and unethical actions of those who represented "sportfishing" interests at the latest BOF?
I cut and pasted this part about BOF makeup from the Alaska Statutes because I think everyone should read it:
AS 16.05.221. Boards of Fisheries and Game.
(a) For purposes of the conservation and development of the fishery resources of the state, there is created the Board of Fisheries composed of seven members appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the legislature in joint session. The governor shall appoint each member on the basis of interest in public affairs, good judgment, knowledge, and ability in the field of action of the board, and with a view to providing diversity of interest and points of view in the membership. The appointed members shall be residents of the state and shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation or geographical location of residence. The commissioner is not a member of the Board of Fisheries, but shall be ex officio secretary.
I don't see anything about balancing the board with respect to most favorite user group or syndicate. At no point is "balance" mentioned, however good judgment, knowledge, and diversity of interest and points of view in the membership are all important qualifications. I don't believe it's possible to posses these qualities and agree with the KRSA/sportfish syndicate's current ideology/goals, so I would submit that the board has failed to live up to its charter for some time now.
I think Les highlighted a big problem here, but not with gillnets. The larger problem on the Kenai is the fact that too many people in the Kenai River sportfishing community are ok letting KRSA carry agenda for their user group. Time to step up and call them on their B.S. Regardless of how people feel about Maw, his appointment was representative of our new Governor doing just that, and our community and local representatives should support his decision. We can all work together to hold Walker and Maw's feet to the fire, accepting nothing less than a fair and open process. There will be more BOF appointments to be made by this administration. I doubt they will all be commercial fishermen from UCI.