Walker nominates 2, including fish board chair, to federal fish council

Gov. Bill Walker has nominated two Alaskans for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council — one a current member and one the chairman of the Board of Fisheries.

John Jensen of Petersburg, one of the nominees, has served on the Board of Fisheries since 2003. He is the chairman and the longest serving member on the board. He has a background in commercial fishing and owns a seasonal skiff rental business.

Andy Mezirow of Seward, the other nominee, has served on the board since 2015. He owns Gray Light Sportfishing and was the chief officer of the University of Alaska’s R/V Alpha Helix in the 1990s.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council oversees fisheries in federal waters of the North Pacific, reaching between three and 200 nautical miles offshore. That includes a variety of fisheries, from crab rationalization to halibut bycatch. It is federally facilitated and one of 12 regional councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act in 1976.

The council is rewriting a federal fishery management plan for the Cook Inlet salmon fishery. The board deferred management formally to the state in 2012 with an amendment known as Amendment 12, but a 2016 court decision overturned the amendment, forcing the council to revisit fishery management for salmon in the area. The council has established a stakeholder working group to gather information about the Cook Inlet salmon fishery while developing the plan, and will receive an update from the group at its upcoming April 2–10 meeting in Anchorage.

Walker nominated Jensen as his preferred nominee, with two alternates — Dan Falvey, a program manager of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, and Tom Panamaroff, the regional and legislative affairs executive for Koniag Inc., according to a March 12 letter to National Marine fisheries Service Assistant Administrator for Fisheries Chris Oliver. He named commercial fisherman Paul Gronholdt and Yakutat Seafoods manager Greg Indreland as alternates for Mezirow.

Jensen’s nomination, announced Wednesday, comes amid controversy over Walker’s nomination of Kodiak resident Duncan Fields to the Board of Fisheries to replace current member Al Cain. Fields, who has also served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and has fished salmon commercially in Kodiak, attracted the ire of sportfishing groups statewide, who wrote in a letter to the Legislature that his appointment would tip the balance of the board toward commercial fishing interests and leave Anchorage, the state’s most populous region, without a representative.

In a news release announcing the nominations, Walker said he supported expanding the Board of Fisheries to include nine members to help avoid the representation conflicts but continues to support Fields’ appointment.

“… (Fields’) appointment underscores the constant struggle to achieve balance on the Board,” Walker said. “Not only is there an array of user groups — from commercial and sportfish to subsistence and personal use — there are also distinct regions which deserve representation when management issues are considered. It is not always possible to balance every need every year.”

Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

The Homer Spit stretching into Kachemak Bay is seen here on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)
Homer woman indicted over seaplane incident

Marian Tillion Beck was indicted on charges of negligent operation of a vessel and attempted interference with the navigation of a sea plane

Soldotna High School can be seen in this Sept. 2, 2021, photo, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Little Sweethearts’ family dance to debut at SoHi

The event will be hosted by SoHi’s freshmen student council

Soldotna City Council members interview city manager applicant Elke Doom (on screen) during a special city council meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Doom, Bower named finalists for Soldotna manager gig

The two will visit Soldotna for in-person meetings on Feb. 7 and 13, respectively

The northern fur seal rescued by Alaska SeaLife Center staff is seen on Jan. 31, 2023, at the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kaiti Grant/Alaska SeaLife Center)
Northern fur seal pup admitted to SeaLife Center rescue program

The pup was reported by Sitka residents using the center’s 24-hour stranding hotline

The Kenai Community Library children’s section is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Literary competition returns to local schools

Battle of the Books aims to instill in kids a love of reading

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
Climate activists hold a rally outside the Alaska State Capitol Friday afternoon in advocacy for legislative action to improve Alaska’s renewable energy development and future sustainability.
Climate activists hold rally near the Capitol

Statewide organizations advocate for legislative action

Shanon Davis, the executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, hands out candy during the Sweeny’s St. Patrick’s Parade in Soldotna on March 17, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Davis to step down as Soldotna chamber head

Davis oversaw the implementation of Soldotna’s “Holding Our Own,” shop local program

Golden-yellow birch trees and spruce frame a view of Aurora Lagoon and Portlock Glacier from a trail in the Cottonwood-Eastland Unit of Kachemak Bay State Park off East End Road on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong)
State parks advisory boards accepting applications

Alaska State Park advisory boards provide state park managers with recommendations on management issues

Most Read