Laukitis, Peterson nominated for North Pacific council

  • The North Pacific Fishery Management Council meets in Kodiak in 2012. Gov. Bill Walker has nominated two new members to the council: Theresa Peterson of Kodiak and Buck Laukitis of Homer. Photo/Andrew Jensen/AJOC

Gov. Bill Walker submitted nominations to fill two seats of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council on March 9.

Walker has nominated Buck Laukitis and Theresa Peterson to replace Duncan Fields and David Long among the 11 voting members of the council, one of eight regional councils established by the 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act to oversee federal fisheries from three to 200 miles off the coast.

Fields has served his maximum of three, three-year terms, while Long has served just one.

As alternates, Walker forwarded Eric Olson, Paul Gronholdt, Linda Behnken, and Art Nelson.

“I am pleased to recommend Theresa Peterson, Buck Laukitis, and the four alternate nominees to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council,” said Walker in a release. “Each of these individuals provides balanced and insightful experience that will benefit the council, and contribute to fisheries management and conservation in the North Pacific region.”

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce must confirm each nomination. Council seats are held for three years and may serve up to three terms. Of 11 voting members, six seats are reserved for Alaskans, including the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, currently held by Sam Cotten. The remaining seats are reserved for the fish and game officials from Washington and Oregon, as well as a designated seat for the National Marine Fisheries Service Alaska Region.

Laukitis is a commercial fisherman from Homer and the owner of Magic Fish Company. While he has no previous fisheries management experience on either the Alaska Board of Fisheries or the council’s Advisory Panel, Laukitis said his experience dealing with proposals to the board and counci, and serving on various fisheries advisory groups has prepared him for the council membership.

Laukitis holds permits for several fisheries, including salmon, halibut, and an inactive rockfish trawl license.

“I’m pleased and happy and look forward to working with the other members of the council, particularly the other Alaska members,” said Laukitis.

Laukitis said he views himself as a small boat Alaska fisherman first, and plans to lend that viewpoint to the council. Laukitis’ daughter and son-in-law both operate the family fisheries with him, and looking out for the next generation of fishermen will be paramount in his council actions.

“I have the next generation right in my household who want to be a part of this, and so that’s always first and foremost in my mind how council decisions will affect them,” said Laukitis.

Peterson, a Kodiak resident and commercial fisherman, currently serves on the council’s Advisory Panel. Peterson has been a vocal supporter of regulations that would directly benefit Alaska coastal communities and a critic of those she feels would damage them.

Most recently, Peterson expressed opposition to a proposal to establish rationalization programs in the Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries she felt would impact Kodiak residents not tied to large-scale fishing operations. Instead, Peterson voted to have the council further examine a set of proposals that are universally unpopular with trawl industry representatives.

03/09/2016 - 2:52pm