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Thread: What is a "Balanced" board?

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    Default What is a "Balanced" board?

    Les Palmer's latest piece is interesting and got me thinking.

    http://peninsulaclarion.com/outdoors...h-gill-netters

    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    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.
    I agree with this. I don't really fish on the Kenai, and I have no problem with fishing guides, or guide advocacy groups. But the idea that the fishing guide constituency is aligned in a substantive way with the average Joe Sports-fisherman is just false. A "balanced board would maintain balance not just between commercial and "sport" users, but would represent a diversified user-base with representatives who also represent unguided sport fishermen, dip netters and subsistence users.

    Some people talk about the BOF being balanced or out of balance. All I see is a board that is very heavily weighted towards commercial exploitation of the resource, with the infighting mostly having to do with distribution of the profit among businesses, rather than distribution the resource among Alaskans. To the BOF credit, they have generally done right by dipnetters, but that's not because members "represent" dipnetting interests.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I
    Some people talk about the BOF being balanced or out of balance. All I see is a board that is very heavily weighted towards commercial exploitation of the resource, with the infighting mostly having to do with distribution of the profit among businesses, rather than distribution the resource among Alaskans. To the BOF credit, they have generally done right by dipnetters, but that's not because members "represent" dipnetting interests.
    I appreciate your post, but remember that the profit among businesses you speak of is overwhelmingly local small businesses, owned by Alaskan residents in both the salt and freshwater fisheries. I don't believe Alaska's laws require that the resource be distributed equally among Alaskans, rather that it be managed consistent with the best interest of Alaskans and Alaskan communities. This would include local small businesses and communities profiting from this resource. So while you may feel that the board has done right by dipnetters, others may feel that since dipnetters on average contribute less to local economies than other user groups, the board has not done right by the best interests of Alaskans and Alaskan fishing communities by allocating more and more fish away from other user groups to the PU fishery. Food for thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    I appreciate your post, but remember that the profit among businesses you speak of is overwhelmingly local small businesses, owned by Alaskan residents in both the salt and freshwater fisheries. I don't believe Alaska's laws require that the resource be distributed equally among Alaskans, rather that it be managed consistent with the best interest of Alaskans and Alaskan communities. This would include local small businesses and communities profiting from this resource. So while you may feel that the board has done right by dipnetters, others may feel that since dipnetters on average contribute less to local economies than other user groups, the board has not done right by the best interests of Alaskans and Alaskan fishing communities by allocating more and more fish away from other user groups to the PU fishery. Food for thought.
    That's fair, and I'm sensitive to the value of economic exploitation. It may be that the "maximum benefit" is attained by conversion of fish into cash.

    I was simply commenting on the idea of "balance". You can't balance a board by having it equally represent only 2 of the half-dozen major user groups.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    You can't balance a board by having it equally represent only 2 of the half-dozen major user groups.
    Exactly. It's only a 7-member board for a state with more coastline than the rest of the U.S. combined. Hence, the importance of good judgement, knowledge, and ability to represent and value diversity. "Balance" is too subjective to use as a basis for board makeup.

    As I have stated, Johnstone was a "sportie" seat even though he used to commercial fish. Why? And Jensen is considered a "commie" seat, even though any time he is the deciding vote he sides with KRSA. Why is he still considered a "commie" seat? Because KRSA says so?

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    If I was governor, I don't think I'd appoint anybody to a 7 member Board of Fish who I wasn't convinced would do a tolerable job of representing all user groups by himself. Anybody who was primarily a commercial advocate, or primarily a guide advocate or primarily a personal use advocate would be disqualified immediately. We have plenty of Alaskans who are capable and willing to balance the needs/wants of all use groups for maximum benefit.

    Of course, my rejection of anybody who represents a "special interest" is exactly why I could never become governor.

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    In my view, a balanced F/W Commission would have representation from all corners of the State (regardless of which State we're discussing).

    Those folks would NOT be representing their geographic area, but they would bring knowledge and experience (ideally) of the fisheries unique to those geographic areas. For example, having reps from SE, SC, Bristol Bay, PWS, UCI/Mat-Su, Kodiak, and the North Slope/Norton Sound would provide knowledge and experience of the fisheries that exist throughout the Great Land. By doing that, each rep would be able to understand how a specific policy would affect the various fisheries in their geographic area. Collectively, the Commission would be able to determine how a specific policy would affect various user groups throughout the State. It is particularly important for a State as big as Alaska; but is also important in, say, Washington State where the fisheries are almost as diverse.

    I am also saying that the Gov should NOT seek to have equal representation on the Commission/Board from the various user groups. That is a recipe for disaster, as has been pointed out.

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    At this point it may be time to just ***** can the BOF and the BOG and just let the ADF&G do their f*!#!&$ job and call it good! I am so tired of the crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    If I was governor, I don't think I'd appoint anybody to a 7 member Board of Fish who I wasn't convinced would do a tolerable job of representing all user groups by himself. Anybody who was primarily a commercial advocate, or primarily a guide advocate or primarily a personal use advocate would be disqualified immediately. We have plenty of Alaskans who are capable and willing to balance the needs/wants of all use groups for maximum benefit.

    Of course, my rejection of anybody who represents a "special interest" is exactly why I could never become governor.
    BINGO!! Get rid of the politics and cronyism and just install some folks with some honesty and integrity.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    At this point it may be time to just ***** can the BOF and the BOG and just let the ADF&G do their f*!#!&$ job and call it good! I am so tired of the crap.
    I agree, we don't need bigger government/politics. We need smaller.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    What is a Balanced BOARD................It is a properly installed "Teeter-Totter".....

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    Shoot the first one that gets out of line, and the rest will do the right thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGL4now View Post
    What is a Balanced BOARD................It is a properly installed "Teeter-Totter".....
    Consider this my slow clap.... Well played.

    On that note, I would say that Walker's appointment of Maw was an attempt to offset the big fat bully on the other side!

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    Been looking at these posts for sometime and note that pretty much the same people weigh in on fisheries matters. Mostly commercial fishing interests it appears. No day jobs? Just seasonal work? The posts are sometimes educational, but most of the time they are mean spirited and often do not address the thread. No wonder there are not more people on here. They are quickly insulted and driven away. As a result, balance does not exist on this forum. Balance on the BOF, as properly pointed out in an earlier post is not required by regulation. Nevertheless it has been present for a long time. In the 70s and 80s the BOF was stacked and one did not need to wait until deliberations to know the outcome. That was before the population boom and the interest by hundreds of thousands of Alaskans to have the great outdoors experience with hunting and fishing. Now their needs must be considered and at least past governors have recognized the value of having a level paying field in the regulatory process in order to address the change in demographics. The present governor will soon get that message from the legislature.

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    Obviously you didn't read the rules. Only star-bellied sneetches can comment in this section.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    Obviously you didn't read the rules. Only star-bellied sneetches can comment in this section.
    Obviously you need to get a life. You do not make the rules nor do you always follow them.

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    Pretty much nailed it, Q. +1 coming at ya!

    <<<The posts are sometimes educational, but most of the time they are mean spirited and often do not address the thread. No wonder there are not more people on here. They are quickly insulted and driven away. As a result, balance does not exist on this forum.>>>

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    Quote Originally Posted by Questairtoo View Post
    Been looking at these posts for sometime and note that pretty much the same people weigh in on fisheries matters. Mostly commercial fishing interests it appears. No day jobs? Just seasonal work? The posts are sometimes educational, but most of the time they are mean spirited and often do not address the thread. No wonder there are not more people on here. They are quickly insulted and driven away. As a result, balance does not exist on this forum. Balance on the BOF, as properly pointed out in an earlier post is not required by regulation. Nevertheless it has been present for a long time. In the 70s and 80s the BOF was stacked and one did not need to wait until deliberations to know the outcome. That was before the population boom and the interest by hundreds of thousands of Alaskans to have the great outdoors experience with hunting and fishing. Now their needs must be considered and at least past governors have recognized the value of having a level paying field in the regulatory process in order to address the change in demographics. The present governor will soon get that message from the legislature.
    Your history needs a few updates and corrections. First, Board members use to be appointed from geographic areas not allocation/user viewpoints. So yes the Board had more commercial fisherman since most of the regulations then and now deal with commercial fishing. In the late 70's that started to change and by the 2000 the switch to user groups was completed. That has been a terrible mistake.

    I believe this is also a function of the size of the salmon returns. In the early years there was a common goal - bring conservation to the front and increase the size of the returns. So user groups worked more along that line. In the late 70's the fight over UCI allocation began in a serious way and at the same time stocks were increasing. With that came more demand and by definition commercial fishing had to be reduced to handle that growth. However, today the ball has moved way too far from the middle ground and as a result the BOF has turned UCI management into a mess with micro-management and plans that are not functional. The BOF as configured for geographic or user groups just cannot work anymore. The complex nature of the fisheries and society combine to create a need for a better approach.

    People are debating sport vs commercial fishing but in reality a person on the Board has to deal with salmon, misc finfish, shellfish, groundfish, and habitat issues. They have to be knowledgeable about every area of the State and Federal waters. They have to understand fishery management, biological concepts, economic trends, social responses to regulations, habitat measures and both short term and long term outcomes. NO PERSON CAN DO THIS = thus the system is broken and needs new thinking and a new approach. We have a multi-billion dollar resource being managed by a lay board who meets 30-50 days a year. It is obvious this is the wrong picture.

    So while I see posts about Dr. Maw and user balance I just sit back and think it is the wrong discussion. It is maintain the status. If Dr. Maw is not selected - so what? Another person with less qualifications will probably be selected and the downward trend of the Board will continue- Selection of Dr. Maw will also not change this trend - the fundamentals of the fisheries are the issue and the existing system just cannot function well with those fundamentals.

    But for those who want to keep the user group debate alive in UCI since 1975 there has been two individual with commercial fishing backgrounds who lived in the UCI area and around 15 sport fishing representatives. So how does one measure balance within a geographic area? The whole balance question is just not the right question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    The whole balance question is just not the right question.
    Perhaps, it's the right question but framed poorly. Perhaps we need a board that has a balance between neutral arbiters with extensive technical knowledge on the one hand and advocates for narrow user groups on the other. That's the sort of balance that I could support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post

    But for those who want to keep the user group debate alive in UCI since 1975 there has been two individual with commercial fishing backgrounds who lived in the UCI area and around 15 sport fishing representatives. So how does one measure balance within a geographic area? The whole balance question is just not the right question.

    I don't see it in terms of balance of geography but balance based on philosophy/history. A governor with commercial ties, Sarah Palin, tried to appoint Brent Johnson to the board which would have put 4 people with commercial interests on it. The legislature, acting on the will of their constituents, overwhelmingly shot that appointment down. I see the same thing happening with Walker's appointment of Maw. Enough constituents will tell their elected officials to reject this appointment based on balance of the board. This is one of the virtues of our government: checks and balances.

    I know smithtb' original post he pasted the perimeters of the BofF and there is nothing said about balance. That is true. Their "good judgment, knowledge, et al" is the basis. But I've heard the same argument made about nominees to the Supreme Court and whether they're Democrat (sport fish?), or Republican (commercial?) shouldn't matter when it comes to "justice". Yeah, right. I'm sure the ideology that they brought to the bench has not influenced their decisions at all...

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