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Juneau – With the current state fiscal crisis, the Walker-Mallott administration continues to look for cost savings wherever possible, including sharing administrative resources and streamlining services.
In February, Governor Walker issued Administrative Order 279, authorizing the transfer of certain administrative functions from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) to the Department of Fish and Game. The objectives of the Order were to streamline administrative and research functions of the agencies, identify cost-saving measures, and provide appropriate support to the commercial fishing industry in the state without negatively impacting the fishing industry.
Rather than transfer these functions by a certain date, the administrative order provided discretion to ensure any changes did not disrupt Alaska’s commercial fisheries and resulted in a more efficient and effective system. Implementation of the administrative order has not yet occurred.
The order was challenged in court by United Fishermen of Alaska; however, a superior court judge ruled in favor of the state, which could have paved the way for immediate action. Rather than implementing Administrative Order 279, Governor Walker said today he would place a moratorium on AO 279 to allow for a more robust stakeholder engagement process.
“In our effort to find cost-savings, I unfortunately bypassed an important step in any restructuring of state government—public engagement and feedback,” Walker acknowledged. “The vital stakeholder input will help determine the best course of action needed to find a path forward for the fishing industry, individual Alaskans, and the affected state agencies.”
The administration will pursue input from Alaska’s commercial fishing industry after the conclusion of the fishing season this fall.
Source: State of Alaska