Lawmakers confirm fish board members, fight game members

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Saturday, April 16, 2016 9:27pm
  • News

JUNEAU — The third time was the charm for Gov. Bill Walker’s attempts to fill seats on Alaska’s Board of Fisheries, but one of his appointments to the Board of Game was rejected by lawmakers on Friday.

A joint session of the House and Senate on Friday unanimously agreed to approve the governor’s nominees to its fish board, but that unity fell apart when board of game members came up.

Each board consists of seven members serving three-year terms. The boards set fishing, hunting and trapping regulations in the state and set allocations between user groups.

For the three candidates to the fish board, it brings an end to a saga of candidates that have resigned, faced criminal charges, failed to be confirmed by the Legislature or stepped down prematurely from the board.

Two of the three fish board appointments are newcomers, Alaska Wildlife Trooper Al Cain and guide Israel Payton. Walker named the third, Soldotna conservationist Robert Ruffner, to the board last year.

Ruffner failed to make it out of confirmation in 2015 after members of the fishing industry said he disturbed an unwritten balance between commercial, sport fishing and subsistence fishing representatives.

Lawmakers again emphasized balanced boards when they took up confirmation of two appointees to the game board.

One former hunting guide, Guy Trimmingham, drew opposition due to his support of non-consumptive uses of game, like wildlife photography.

Sen. Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, said the Board of Game is designed to adopt regulations promoting hunting, trapping and use of the state’s game resources.

Kelly said the game board was not designed to be balanced with wildlife viewers, environmentalists or animal rights activists.

“They always want balance, but then they don’t pay fees. I don’t know of a camera fee that you pay so that you can take photographs of moose,” he said. “We hunters pay fees. We pay fees for the management of a resource so that we can use it and consume it and that’s a good thing.”

Trimmingham also drew opposition from members who said he revealed his lack of knowledge about the state’s advisory committees during his confirmation hearings. The committees are designed to inform the game board’s regulatory process by giving it a cross-section of opinions on game issues from users throughout the state.

Legislators voted 46-12 not to support Trimmingham’s nomination.

The other appointee, wilderness trapper and guide Nathan Turner has been on the board since 2010.

Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, said Turner’s background as a guide ran counter to the interests of other hunters.

“This resource belongs to all 700,000 of us,” Gara said. “The board should reflect the interest of 700,000 of us. What I’ve seen on the Board of Game is, with nominees and the membership, three members who are current or former guides.”

Turner was confirmed 45-13.

More in News

Sockeye salmon. (Photo via Alaska Department of Fish and Game)
Fish and Game seeks comment on 2022 sport fish stocking plan

The Sport Fish Division plans to release approximately 7 million fish into the Alaska water systems over the next five years.

A map shows which parts of the Chugach National Forest are open to motorized winter recreation use for the 2021-2022 season. (Map courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service)
Parts of Chugach National Forest open to snowmachine use

The 2021-2022 winter motorized season will run through April 30.

Kenai Police Department Chief David Ross explains the purpose of a grant to be used for new radios during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Police to update radios using grant money

The department received almost $260,000 through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Democratic Party candidate for governor Les Gara attends a Zoom meeting with Homer residents on Nov. 18, 2021, from his Anchorage, Alaska, home. (Screen capture)
Gara makes election pitch to Homer

Democratic Party candidate for governor Gara visits virtually.

A man missing for more than 40 years was identified by the Alaska Bureau of Investigation as a Chugiak resident who was last seen in 1979. The man’s body was discovered on an island near Anchorage in 1989. (Courtesy photo/Alaska Department of Public Safety)
Body found in 1980s ID’d through DNA analysis

The body, found in 1989, had been unidentified until now.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID continues decline; 1 new death

The state had an estimated rolling average of 253.3 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days.

U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham addresses state and Alaska Native leaders Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. Dillingham will travel to Toksook Bay, on an island just off Alaska’s western coast, for the first count on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Census reports minimal state population growth

The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s population grew by about 3,400 people between the 2010 and 2020 census.

The old Homer intermediate school building, showing the Homer Boys & Girls Club and gym on the south side of the building at the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue.
The old Homer intermediate school building on the corner of the Sterling Highway and Pioneer Avenue, as seen in October 2010. It’s now known as the Homer Educational and Recreational Complex, or HERC. (Homer News file photo)
Homer awards contract to study use of rec complex site

The goal is to help the city understand the maximum use of that property.

Genna Stormer gives Santa a hug during Christmas Comes to Nikiski at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Dec. 14, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
December brings the holiday cheer

Groups across the peninsula get into the spirit of the season with public events.

Most Read