Alaska Board of Fisheries

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

The Alaska Board of Fisheries violated the state’s open meetings law. That’s according to Alaska’s ombudsman that released a critical report Tuesday saying the board improperly shifted the location of its Cook Inlet finfish meeting earlier this year with little public notice. The location issue is expected to be revisited again next month.

When the Board of Fish moved its Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting from Kenai to Anchorage, it took a lot of people by surprise. Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel was one of them. 

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has tapped his former legislative aide to serve on the Board of Fisheries. Matanuska-Susitna Borough resident John Wood is largely unknown by fishing groups.

In the world of Alaska fish politics, John Wood is not a big player.

“Most of the response I’ve heard from UFA members is ‘who is he?’ People are not familiar with him,” United Fishermen of Alaska Executive Director Frances Leach said.

Courtesy of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's office

The Alaska Legislature approved all but one of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s four appointments to the Alaska Board of Fisheries Wednesday. Legislators tabled appointing former board member and chairman Karl Johnstone largely due allegations that he sexually harassed Board of Fish staff and unethically coerced fellow board members into taking particular positions.

Lawmakers later voted not to appoint Johnstone to the board.

Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Homer House Rep. Sarah Vance announced Friday that she is launching an inquiry into the Alaska Board of Fisheries’ January vote to move its 2020 Upper Cook Inlet finfish meeting on the Kenai Peninsula back to Anchorage. Vance and other peninsula legislators asked the board to reconsider its decision and to provide public notice before it did so. The board has not responded.

Courtesy of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's office

Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced four appointments to the Alaska Board of Fisheries Monday. One of Dunleavy’s picks has served on the board in the past and is likely to go through a heated confirmation process.

Three of Dunleavy’s appointments, if confirmed by the Legislature, would replace board members Robert Ruffner, Orville Huntington and Al Cain.

Ruffner, who had reapplied for his position, said he’s disappointed with the decision.