Governor Bill Walker recently selected his nominations for two seats on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and chose Tom Panamaroff as an alternate.
Panamaroff is Koniag’s regional and legislative affairs executive and says Koniag has become more involved in the council’s process over the years.
He says that’s partly because of the growing presence of sport charter fishing in the island communities. He also mentions concern about the health of commercial fishing around the island.
“The actions taken on fisheries policy starting with limited entry and then moving onto more recent decisions with IFQs and things like that. Over time, we’re seeing less and less participation in commercial fisheries in our communities, particularly our villages.”
He says as fishing opportunities leave the island, so do residents, and that contributes to issues like under-enrollment in schools and subsequent closures. Panamaroff says having a seat on the council could help support commercial fisheries interests in the Kodiak communities.
Panamaroff is the alternate nominee to the governor’s preferred candidate, John Jensen, a commercial fisherman from Petersberg who also currently serves as chair of the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Jensen’s other alternate is Dan Falvey, project coordinator with the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association in Sitka.