The list of candidates has been set for the upcoming election for the organization that represents all of the drift-net permit holders in Bristol Bay.
The Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association was formed back in 2006 when the drifters in Bristol Bay approved a 1-percent assessment on their salmon catch to fund the work of the organization. It's governed by a 7-member Board of Directors that must be driftnet permit holders. 3 seats are currently up for grabs in the mail-in election that gets started next month.
Current Board chair Robert Heyano from Dillingham is running unopposed for reelection to Seat A that's reserved for an Alaska resident. Heyano is the captain of the Lady Mindy and he's a past member of the Alaska Board of Fisheries and currently sits on the Board of the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation. In information that will be sent to all driftnet permit holders next month Heyano says permit holders need to keep the fishery sustainable through a range of activities; from needed research to opposing large-scale mining when it threatens the industry. The other incumbent running unopposed is Matt Luck from Ketchum, Idaho. He holds Seat D on the Board that's reserved for a non-Alaska resident. Luck is the captain of the Meg J and he is one of the newest members of the Board after being appointed to fill a vacancy over a year ago. In a statement that will be sent out to permit holders Luck touted the work he and other members of the Board did in drafting a 5-year strategic plan for the organization. The 3rd seat up for election is the one seat that features challengers. Incumbent Matt Marinkovich from Friday Harbor, Washington will face 2 challengers for At-Large Seat G on the Board. Marinkovich is calling for the BB-RSDA to expand the direct marketing options open to permit holders and he thinks the Pebble Mine cannot coexist with a healthy Bristol Bay Fishery. One of the challengers for Seat G is Tom Crawford from Ellensburg Washington. He's been fishing Bristol Bay for over 30-years and is the captain of the Crawdad. In information being sent to permit holders Crawford is calling for the BB-RSDA to be flexible to the changing factors that impact the sockeye fishery in the Bay. The other challenger is Dan Kingsley from Wasilla. He's the captain of the Cape Menshikof and has been the chairman of the Lower Bristol Bay Fish and Game Advisory Committee for the last 9-years. He's opposed to the proposed "Pebble Mine" and he's calling on the Board of Directors to channel some money toward projects that will reduce the transportation costs of seafood products to the lower 48 states. All of the candidate statements and other information about the upcoming Board of Directors election can be found on the website of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association. The organization confirms that ballots will be mailed to all BB-RSDA members in mid-march. The next BB-RSDA Board meeting is scheduled for this coming weekend in Anchorage at the Millennium Hotel.