The three-member commission that oversees Alaska’s lucrative limited-entry commercial fisheries is urging lawmakers not to pursue proposals for elimination for at least another year. 

 

The state Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission is under fire as a more than $3.5 billion budget shortfall looms. A critical report by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game makes a case for overhaul, citing permit processing delays and relatively high payroll costs. Proposed legislation, House Bill 112, would repeal the commission and move its duties to Fish and Game.

 

Created in 1974 to conserve the state’s salmon, the commission now administers 68 fisheries including salmon, herring, crab, sablefish, shrimp and dive fisheries. Commissioners help decide who gets permits and rule on the appeals of hearing officer decisions and permit transfers.

 

The three commissioners are all attorneys: longtime commissioner and chair Bruce Twomley, one-term member Benjamin Brown and former Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright, appointed last month.

 

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