Three members of the Board of Fisheries were easily re-appointed to new three-year terms, although not all without objection, by a joint session of the Legislature last week.
The re-appointments of Sue Jeffrey, Reed Morisky and John Jensen were passed through the House fisheries committee the previous week, and although there was public testimony for and against all three, the testimony against Morisky, board member from Fairbanks, was particularly vicious.
Paul Shadura of Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association said, “Mr. Morisky in his short time on the board has not been approachable, and in many instances has been extremely discriminating against commercial setnet fishermen in Cook Inlet.”
Shadura went on to say that at his first Cook Inlet meeting, Morisky had submitted a Kenai River Sportfishing Association document as his own, and when called on it, implied that Shadura’s group should get their own board member.
“We question the ethics of an individual that is doing the business of the public, that manages the public trust, that only associates himself with members of an organization that is determined to eliminate longtime setnet fishing families in Upper Cook Inlet,” Shadura said.
Ninilchik fisherman David Martin said that, at recent meetings, “Reed Morisky’s voting record and comments show that he bases his decisions and votes on public and political perception, and not based on science and the data.”
When it came time for the final confirmation vote, Rep. Bill Stolze, R-Chugiak, objected to Jeffrey and Jensen, but there were no objections to Morisky.
Stoltze said he made the move because he had heard there was going to be an objection to Morisky, and that the three nominations came from the Parnell administration as “a package deal.”
He then went on to vaguely insult Jeffrey.
“Kodiak is full of the most intelligent people on commercial fisheries issues,” he said. “When I’ve been there, there’s such a breadth of knowledge, I’m just very surprised that this is the best person they could find from Kodiak for two (terms) in a row.”
He added that he had heard through the Board of Commissions that they could not find others from Kodiak willing to serve.
“Knowing the talented people with extensive knowledge there, that amazes me.”
Stoltze then withdrew his objections, and all three board members were approved by unanimous consent.
Cristy Fry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.