With the Alaska Board of Fish now down to six members, the next question is: who will replace Vince Webster?
Webster held a commercial fisheries seat, and was the only member to come from the Bristol Bay area. Kenai River Sportfish Association’s Executive Director Ricky Gease explained the Cook Inlet area is already represented by Karl Johnstone of Anchorage, and Sue Jeffery of Kodiak, so it’s likely the new Board Member will also come from Bristol Bay.
Rob Williams with Kenai Peninsula Fisherman’s Association said they’re still working on putting forward someone from the Peninsula.
Williams: “We haven’t seen any names yet, we’re trying to recruit some people locally. We’re thinking they might possibly be looking for somebody from Area M or Bristol Bay, which is a shame, because Vince Webster was a really good board member and now to have to find somebody else to replace them is going to be a pretty difficult task. I believe there are some people in our local area that’re going to be putting their names in.”
Williams declined to provide any specific names, but said the member would have to be committed…
Williams: “It’s many hours, thankless job, and to be effective like Vince Webster was, you put a lot of extra time into the effort too, as well as just being at the meetings, keeping in contact with the user group and following the regulations and seeing how they all pan out after they’re passed in the following fishing season, so it’s a really hard task. Somebody with a young family would probably have a real hard time at it.”
Wherever the new Member comes from, they will sit on the Board through the next Board meetings before being confirmed by the Legislature this time next year.