State Legislators Looking to Eliminate Fisheries Limited Entry Commission


Bruce Twomley of the CFEC
Bruce Twomley of the CFEC

Alaska state legislators are trying to pass a new bill, HB112, which is designed to cut costs in the state, and will look specifically at the Commercial Fisheries Entries Commission.  This all began with a report that was submitted by Alaska Fish and Game that questions the structure and effectiveness of the CFEC.

Historically, the Commercial Fisheries Entries Commission has been a vital part of fisheries management and resource sustainability in Alaska.  The commission was established in 1973.  The idea of limited entry permits for fisheries in Alaskan waters is one of the foundations that our regulatory processes are built upon.  Limiting access to our fisheries has allowed us to manage them at sustainable levels, unlike many other areas of the world.

The primary role of the CFEC is to review and decide who can receive a permit into certain limited entry fisheries.  ADF&G feels that the commission in modern times is highly inefficient with this process, sitting on nearly 30 backlogged cases that are over 15 years old.  The report also indicated that the commission only made decisions on three cases in each of the last two years.

Earlier this year, a similar bill was introduced, HB386, which would have transferred most of these duties to ADF&G.  The Fish and Game report also brought into question the work ethics of several of the high level, highly-paid employees of the CFEC, who work from home and seldom work in the office.  Eliminating these positions would free up over $600,000.

Obviously CFEC has some issues with the report and are preparing a public response, and they are also set to present  an overview of the agency to the House Fisheries Committee soon.


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