Southeast finfish/shellfish meeting set for Anchorage

Alaska Board of Fisheries members, citing pandemic concerns, have voted to stick by an earlier decision to hold the Southeast and Yakutat finfish and shellfish meeting at the Egan Center in Anchorage from March 10-22, rather than Ketchikan.

In making that decision Thursday, Jan. 27, the board also extended until Feb. 23 the comment period for the 153 proposals on the agenda.

The board invites public oral testimony during the meeting. Those who intend to testify are encouraged to use the registration platform prior to the meeting. The tentative deadline for signing up to testify at the meeting is 2 p.m. March 26. Public testimony will continue until all those who signed up before the deadline and are present have been given a chance to testify.

Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, had urged the fisheries board to reconsider its decision, saying that it means a great deal to Ketchikan to be able to host this meeting.

“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,” he said earlier. “It’s critical that these meetings be as accessible as possible to those who would be most directly affected by these decisions.”

“Moving this meeting out of Ketchikan would undermine the public process and impact the board’s ability to make sound decisions,” said Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak.

Representatives Andi Story, D-Juneau, and Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, D-Sitka also supported holding the meeting in Ketchikan, but a four-member majority of the board voted to keep the session in Anchorage, including John Jensen, the only member of the board who lives in Southeast Alaska