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Monday, May 28, 2018
HomeBriefsGroups band together to oppose Board of Fisheries nominee

Groups band together to oppose Board of Fisheries nominee

Gov. Bill Walker’s nomination of a Kodiak resident to the Board of Fisheries has hit a strong tide of opposition.

A letter to Alaska legislators opposing Duncan Fields was signed by 16 sports and outdoor groups this week. They object because Fields, a Kodiak commercial fisherman, would replace an Anchorage sports fisher on the board that they want to be balanced between competing uses for a treasured resource.

The groups said the seven-member board should balance not only regional representation but also have three members who have interests in commercial fishing, with three who have interest in sport and personal use fishing. One board member should represent the interests of subsistence users.

Hawkins

Duncan Fields, nominee to the Alaska Board of Fisheries

“This balanced approach has worked well for Alaska,” the groups wrote. “The appointment of Mr. Fields alters that balance and threatens a return to earlier times when commercial fishing interests dominated the Board with little regard for sport, personal use subsistence fishers.”

“With respect to Alaska Board of Fisheries appointments, it matters where people are from and where their experience lies. We urge you to keep the Board fair, equitable and balanced by Voting No on the confirmation of Mr. Fields to the Alaska Board of Fisheries.”

Those signing the letter of opposition included a wide swath of Alaskans that the governor and the Legislature will heed at their own political peril. They are the heads of the Alaska chapter of Safari Club International, the Alaska Outdoor Council, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Association, Fairbanks Fish and Game Advisory Council, Kenai River Professional Guide Association, Matanuska Valley Sportsmen, Southeast Alaska Guides Organization, Tanana Valley Sportsmen, Alaska Charter Association, Alaska Sportfishing Association, Chitina Dipnetters Association, Kenai River Sportfishing Association, Mat-Su Fish and Wildlife Commission, Southcentral Alaska Dipnetters Association, Territorial Sportsmen, and Tsiu River Coalition.

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association posted a link and sample letter that Alaskans can send to legislators directly from the organization’s web site.

The House Special Committee on Fisheries, chaired by Kodiak Rep. Louise Stutes, last night postponed a hearing on the nominee that was scheduled for today. Fields will likely get a friendly pass from Stutes because if confirmed, he won’t be able to run against her for the House seat she occupies. Fields has let it be known he intends to file for that seat and challenge her in the Republican primary.
Gov. Walker has had a tough time with his nominees to the Board of Fisheries since Board President Karl Johnstone resigned from the board after learning he would not be reappointed. His first failed appointee, Roland Maw, has been caught up in legal troubles after being accused of not actually being an Alaska resident and for taking Permanent Fund dividends wrongfully.
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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Suzanne did a well written and thought out article concerning the politics of this appointment by Walker. Its a must read too. Published on 03/13/2018 under… but of course “Must Read Alaska”. Thanks for keeping this in the public eye

  • Duncan Fields is a decent man and did well representing Alaska Commercial fishing interests at NPFMC council meetings. It is regrettable that Walker appointed him to the Board of Fisheries. But, Duncan applied for the position and should have known he would be in for a tough confirmation process. He may get damaged in the process which might affect his ability to serve in another capacity. He would be wise to withdraw his name before that happens. It is inexplicable why Walker would do this. It is as if he just wants to make just about everyone angry.

    • Alaskans first. Good call on this. Politics takes precedence over alaskan outdoorsmen. Fields has put himself in this spot and Walker is using him as a pawn. I’m sure fields is a good man. Just the wrong venue