Alaska Board of Fisheries pre-Covid meeting on Upper Cook Inlet


In a marathon six-hour session on Tuesday to approve 186 Dunleavy appointees to state boards and commissions, the Alaska legislature overwhelmingly rejected one Board of Fish appointee while approving another who was strongly opposed by Alaska fishermen.

Abe Williams of Anchorage was rejected by a whopping 41-18 vote due in great part to his employment as a regional affairs director for the Pebble Mine.

Representative Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham called the vote a “drubbing” and said Williams is “a polarizing figure that did not have the trust of people in the Bristol Bay region.”

Also damning Williams’ were his proposals to increase the length of drift gillnetter boats beyond the current 32-foot limit.  Senator Lyman Hoffman of Bethel was among the opponents

“People in the villages would not have the resources to invest in those larger boats.”

Hoffman also opposed Williams push to allow individuals to hold multiple salmon permits in Bristol Bay, saying that it would favor wealthy Outside investors over Alaskans.

“We need to protect Alaska fisheries for Alaska fishermen,” Hoffman said.

Nearly 1,000 Alaskans submitted testimony in opposition to Williams’ since Gov. Dunleavy appointed him in April 2020. The Governor now has 30 days to submit another name for legislative approval.

And despite intense opposition by Alaska fishermen who opposed the appointment of Marit Carlson-Van Dort of Anchorage, her Fish Board seat was confirmed by a 36-23 vote.

Opponents claimed Van Dort was biased in her voting toward the Chignik region where she has family, and also said she favored sportfishing over commercial interests.

A tally of the 36 yes votes show that only one legislator from a coastal community voted for Van Dort – Andi Story of Juneau.

As it stands now, reappointed Fish Board member John Jensen of Petersburg is the only seat out of seven who hails from a fishing town.

Find links to the votes here