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BBEDC opposes permit stacking

As the state Board of Fisheries prepares to deliberate proposals addressing permit stacking in Bristol Bay, mixed opinions continue to come out in public testimony.

Mixed opinions continued today during discussions of permit stacking.

But Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp. CEO Norm Van Vactor offered one view point for many communities.

“BBEDC and our 17 member coastal communities are unequivocally and unanimously opposed to any form of permit stacking,” he said during his public testimony on Thursday.

That raised a question from Board of Fish Chair Tom Kluberton, who asked for some clarification, noting that he had heard mixed opinions from Bristol Bay residents.

“When you mentioned you had 17 communities in unanimous opposition, what forms were those opinions collected in?” he asked. “Community resident votes, community council votes, what was your opinion collection mechanism there?”

Van Vactor responded that BBEDC has 17 board members, each chosen by the community, mostly by tribal or village councils, who were all asked to weigh in on the proposals.

“We asked all our committee members to comment and represent their thoughts on it,” he said. “Our fisheries committee collected all the comments. They made their suggestions. And then our full board met exactly a month ago and looked at these proposals and voted on them.”

Several eastside residents have said they support permit stacking, and the Naknek-Kvichak and Lower Bristol Bay advisory committees also supported it.

A group of Bristol Bay watershed communities that are not represented by BBEDC, all in the Lake Iliamna area, also testified that their local governing bodies had come out against permit stacking.

The board received several letters from village and tribal councils opposing permit stacking. All used similar or identical language, and most referenced BBEDC’s work to support keeping permits in the region.

The board is likely to hear more discussion of permit stacking on Friday during the committee of the whole process, and deliberate those proposals either Friday or Saturday.

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