The Alaska Department of Fish and Game could see a major reorganization in the near future. Last month Governor Sean Parnell gave a speech at the Resource Development Council’s annual meeting in Anchorage in which he described a disconnect between the divisions of commercial and sport fisheries.
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Those remarks came on November 18 as Parnell announced his appointment of fisheries aide Cora Campbell to be acting Fish and Game commissioner. In the speech he noted that the divisions of commercial fisheries and sport fisheries sometimes use different data set to manage the same species of fish and called on the divisions to work closer together.
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Parnell’s remarks have been received with some guarded skepticism from sport fishing advocates. Ricky Gease is the executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Association based in Soldotna.
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That said, Gease didn’t rule out that the agency could work together more closely and improve efficiency amongst managers.
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On the commercial side, Arni Thomson, president of the United Fisherman of Alaska’s board of directors, which has thrown its support behind Parnell’s appointment of Cora Campbell is adopting a wait-and-see approach.
Thomson says there’s merit to what Parnell is saying. But he says the UFA isn’t ready to take a side in any debate.
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Fish and Game has been undergoing some major changes at the top. Aside from a new acting commissioner, the $200 million agency had a new leadership team appointed last week filling some of the top jobs including a new deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner and an acting director of commercial fisheries to replace high level retirements on the first of the month.