Alaska’s Joint Board of Fisheries and Game is meeting in Anchorage. Today, they decided to create a Fish and Game advisory committee just for the community of Bethel. With over 6,000 residents, Bethel continues to grow as the hub of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The community currently has one seat on the Lower Kuskokwim Advisory Committee but local groups approached the joint board about getting their own.
Several letters of support were submitted from the Central Kuskokwim Advisory Committee, Bethel Native Corporation, and Orutsararmuit Native Council, Bethel’s Native Tribe.
Board of Game member, Pete Pobrasco of Palmer spoke in favor.
“Bethel is over 6,000 people. I think they deserve more representation,” Pobrasco says.
Board of Game member Robert Mumford of Anchorage was the only dissenting vote.
Sue Jeffrey of Kodiak with the Board of Fish said it was the right move.
“I think creating an advisory committee will help facilitate communication throughout the region. And to me it makes sense for all kinds of reasons,” Jeffrey says.
There will be costs associated with the state running another advisory committee and some board members had concerns about that but the Board of Fish’s John Jensen of Petersburg said he believed the extra cost to the state would be manageable.
“I think there’s ways we could make up for that,” Jensen says. “Especially down in Southeast where there’s some inactive ones and there’s some committees that are connected by the road system that are close together and we could make a single one out of three that I could think of right now down there so I think there are ways. This will work. I don’t think it’s going to be a huge extra cost.”
Board of Game member, Stosh Hoffman of Bethel, abstained from the vote.
The Alaska Joint Board of Fisheries and Game has been meeting in Anchorage since Saturday.