WASILLA — A new state review suggests the three-member state commission overseeing some of Alaska’s most lucrative commercial fisheries is prone to inefficiency and ripe for overhaul, with a few employees who are paid but rarely show up at the office.
The review of Alaska’s Commercial Fisheries Limited Entry Commission, conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, comes as officials struggling with a forecast $3.5 billion shortfall look to trim state spending.
The report was released in early February, about two weeks after the commission’s newest member -- former Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright -- was appointed by Gov. Bill Walker.
Created in 1974 to calm frenzied salmon harvests, the commission now administers 68 fisheries. Nearly half target salmon but the commission also regulates herring, crab, sablefish, shrimp and dive fisheries. Commissioners help decide who gets permits and rule on appeals of hearing officer decisions.
The three commissioners are all attorneys: longtime commissioner and chair Bruce Twomley; one-term member Benjamin Brown; and Rupright. The Legislature still must confirm Rupright’s appointment and Brown’s reappointment to four-year terms.
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