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Background on Board of Fisheries Chair Marit Carlson-van Dort

Recently, special interest groups in Juneau have been taking aim on one specific nominee to the to the Board of Fisheries, while KRSA has been supporting her. Here’s why:

Marit Carlson-van Dort is currently the Chair of the Board of Fisheries. Growing up between Chignik and Juneau, Marit holds a Bachelor’s degree in Conservation Science and a Masters in Fisheries. Marit grew up fishing commercially and for subsistence, and she joined the Board of Fisheries in 2019, filling the Subsistence seat vacated by Orville Huntington. You can see her resume here.

So why is KRSA supporting her, and why are some from the commercial fleet opposing her? She voted with the majority of the Board on a specific allocation measure, redirecting harvest from the Kodiak fleet to the Chignik fleet. KRSA did not testify on that proposal, but we view the decision as appropriate for two reasons:

  1. Conservation – The runs in Chignik have been struggling for many years. Lack of fish available for commercial harvest has devastated the economy of Chignik communities, causing processors and canneries to close. Beyond this, the salmon runs in Chignik have failed to meet their escapements for many years. Reducing the intercept of Chignik-bound fish is hoped to help rebuild those challenged runs and village economy which relies on them.
  2. Humanitarian – The community of Chignik’s fish returns have been so poor in the past few years that they’ve had to receive food aid from international charitable organizations like the United Methodist Church. Reallocating a small amount of fish from a wealthy community like Kodiak, which has access to multiple fisheries, to a community like Chignik allows fellow Alaskans to feed their families from the bounty of our state.

We hope our members and Alaskans of all stripes will join us in supporting another term for Chair Carlson-van Dort. You can get your thoughts on this in to Juneau by visiting https://action.krsa.com.