Testify Aug. 28 on Board of Fisheries appointments.

A vessel docked in Cordova Harbor. (Aug. 25, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Members of the Alaska Senate Resources Committee will hear public testimony on Friday, Aug. 28 on four people whom Gov. Mike Dunleavy has appointed to the Board of Fisheries.

Incumbent members John Jensen and John Wood, as well as Abe Williams and McKenzie Mitchell all need confirmation from the Legislature.

The Senate hearing, announced on Tuesday, Aug. 25, will be livestreamed at http://akl.tv. Jensen, a resident of Petersburg who participates in crab and halibut fisheries, is the only current member of the fisheries board who lives in a coastal community.

Wood, a resident of Willow, is a retired attorney.

The appointments of Williams and Mitchell are both considered controversial.

Williams is the director of regional affairs for the Pebble Partnership and the second person appointed to the board by Dunleavy who has worked for Pebble.  

Mitchell, of Fairbanks, is currently a fishing guide for a fishing lodge at Port Lions. The website for Wilderness Beach Lodge said she is new to their lodge this year and was looking to upgrade her captain’s license. Mitchell attends school in Fairbanks during the fall and winter and enjoys flying small planes with her boyfriend into remote hunting and camping sites, the website said.

Current board member Marit Carlson-Van Dort was employed as Pebble’s director of regional affairs until 2018 and was appointed to the fisheries board in 2019. She is currently the director of external affairs for NANA Regional Corp.

“Without knowing if a special session will occur prior to the 2021 legislative session, and considering the importance of the Board of Fish process to Alaskans, we felt it was important to review and provide the public an opportunity to weigh in about the specific appointees to the BoF,” said Sen. Peter Micciche, R- Soldotna, chairman of Senate Resources.

Members of the public may testify over the phone or submit written testimony to sres@akleg.gov

Public testimony call-in numbers include 907-563-9083 in Anchorage, 907-586-9085 in Juneau and 844-586-9085 for all other areas.

For more information contact Micciche’s office at 907-283-7996 or email Sen.Peter.MIcciche@akleg.gov.

Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, chair of the House Special Committee on Fisheries, has also scheduled a public hearing on Dunleavy’s appointments to the Board of Fisheries, for Sept. 3.

Stutes said public comment will be accepted during the House committee’s meeting and may also be submitted via email to house.fisheries@akleg.gov.