Letter: Fish, game board chairs encourage public engagement

Fish, game board chairs encourage public engagement

Dear Alaskans,

As your chairs to the Alaska Boards of Fisheries and Game we want to take this time to update you on our upcoming meeting season.

For those new to Alaska or our state’s fish and game regulatory process, the Boards of Fisheries and Game are composed of seven individuals from around Alaska who meet each year to enact changes to your fish and game management system. For example, by passing a regulation the Board of Game might open a new moose hunt in western Alaska, or the Board of Fisheries might expand an area for sport fishing on a remote Southeast river. Just as the board might provide opportunity, it may also set limits for conservation reasons.

Whatever the subject the board process is a public process. We are the public appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature. Board decisions stem from proposals by the public, fish and game advisory committees, tribes, and governments. Alaskans bring forward recommendations and issues that the boards then decide upon. This public process only works with an engaged and effective public.

This year the Board of Game is reviewing game issues for general Statewide provisions (the board meeting is in Anchorage, November 10-17), and the Central and Southwest Regions (in Dillingham, February 16-23).

Meanwhile, the Board of Fisheries is reviewing Prince William Sound Finfish, including the Upper Susitna and Upper Copper rivers (in Valdez, December 1-5), Southeast and Yakutat Shellfish and Finfish (in Sitka, January 11-23), and Statewide regulations on Dungeness, Shrimp, and other shellfish (in Anchorage, Anchorage, March 6-9).

Collectively the boards received over 400 proposals this year. Hearing from Alaskans is critical to our work. Attending and participating in board meetings is only one way Alaskans may voice their concerns. The boards also seek written public comment prior to and during the meetings. To learn more about this critical public process, including joining a fish and game advisory committee, meeting locations, deadlines, how to submit a proposal, listening to meetings online, signing up for email notifications, and more, please contact the Boards Support Section in the Department of Fish and Game, at 907-465-4110, dfg.boards@alaska.gov or visit us online through the Internet search words “Alaska’s fisheries and game board process”.

Thank you for your time!

Ted Spraker, Chair, Board of Game

John Jensen, Chair, Board of Fisheries