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U.S. Senator Mark Begich issued a statement today on the White House announcement about the appointment of two Alaskans to the three-member International Pacific Halibut Commission. 

 “The appointment of these two Alaskans will let the Commission get on with its important work,” said Sen. Begich.  “That work is especially important now so that we can rebuild stocks from their current low levels.  Many Alaskans from different perspectives expressed interest in the Alaska’s seat on the commission and I appreciate their willingness to serve.  With the Commission’s annual meeting set to begin soon, I urge all users of halibut, commercial, recreational and subsistence to work with the commission and other interested groups so we make good decisions to keep our fisheries healthy and sustainable.”

 The appointments were made after a two-year search.  Dr. Jim Balsiger of Juneau is Regional Administrator for Alaska Region for National Marine Fisheries Service.  He fills a seat intended for a U.S. federal fishery management official.  Don Lane is a commercial fisherman from Homer who has followed the work of the Commission and other regulatory boards for many years.  A retired Coast Guardsman, he fills a seat for an Alaska resident.

 The White House also announced the appointment of Bob Alverson of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association of Seattle to a seat on the commission for a Washington resident.  Sen. Begich expressed his appreciation for outgoing member Phillip Lestenkof of St. Paul Island for his service on the commission.