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Those quoted in the April 6th article, ``Fishing advocates protest nominees to the fish council,'' were wrong to claim Gov. Knowles did not follow process and consult with state fishing groups regarding his nominations to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.
During the first five years of Knowles' tenure, eight appointments to this council came up for nomination by the governor. Each time Knowles followed the same process as he did this year. Each time, he named representatives from the commercial fishing industry. And, each time, the process was never criticized.
This year the process was the same but with a different result. The governor named someone from the recreational sector - the first such seat from Alaska since the council's inception 24 years ago. This new direction was based on growing public input over the past several years for a diversity of interests, increased conservation, and reduced economic conflicts on the council.
Comments by commercial, sport, subsistence and conservation interests are sought each winter by the governor's office. A huge volume of mail and calls are received and taken into consideration to help ensure a sound decision-making process. In addition, the governor often hears additional input during his travels across the state. This has been the process for the past five years of these nominations, and it was again the process this year.
Although Gov. Knowles' choices might not please everyone, the process he followed included consideration of many public comments from all sectors and a lengthy consideration of the issues. The governor's nominees will fairly represent all of Alaska's fisheries interests on the council.
Cindy SmithDirector of Boards and CommissionsOffice of the Governor