JUNEAU - Half the members of Juneau's local Fish and Game advisory committee, including several people who had been on the committee for decades, resigned Monday.
A trapper, a sportsman and six commercial fishermen, plus an alternate who commercially fishes, quit. In a joint letter to the state boards of Fish and Game, they said charter fishing operators had been elected into seats reserved for sport or personal-use fishermen and hunters.
The state has 82 advisory committees, nearly all active, composed of members of the public. Each year the boards consider proposals on how regulations should be changed. The advisory committees make recommendations on those proposals.
The Juneau Douglas advisory committee since the 1980s has designated seats for five sportsmen, five commercial fishermen, a processor, a conservationist, a trapper, a charter operator and a nonconsumer. This was maintained via the honor system.
But last week, community members voted in two more charter fishing operators, making four total on the 15-person committee.
Those who resigned asked the board to formalize the seat designations.
Tensions between charter operators and commercial fishermen have been high for years. They were even higher this year, as charter operators successfully sued in federal court to keep a two-fish bag limit for their clients.
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