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OPINION: Radio host’s appointment shows Alaska’s skewed wildlife management priorities

In Alaska, the appointment of a conservative radio host to a prominent position overseeing fisheries management reveals a concerning trend of skewed priorities in wildlife management. Governor Mike Dunleavy’s decision to appoint Mike Porcaro, a radio host with no significant qualifications, raises questions about the level of expertise and knowledge required for such a role. Additionally, the author highlights the issue of the Alaska Board of Game, which has predominantly consisted of individuals with hunting-related backgrounds, neglecting the broader interests and perspectives of the public. This imbalance undermines the principles of effective governance and fails to represent the diverse array of stakeholders involved in wildlife management.

Section 1: The politicization of Alaska’s public boards and commissions

In recent years, there has been a growing concern over the politicization of Alaska’s public boards and commissions. These boards and commissions play a critical role in overseeing various aspects of the state’s governance, including fish and wildlife management. One notable example of this politicization is the recent appointment of conservative radio host Mike Porcaro to oversee Alaska’s fisheries.

Questions have been raised about Porcaro’s qualifications and motives for this appointment. As a radio host, his expertise lies in broadcasting rather than fisheries management. This raises the question of whether he is truly qualified for this position or if his appointment was based on political allegiance rather than merit.

The appointment of Porcaro is just one instance of a broader trend of appointing individuals with political affiliations to positions of power within Alaska’s public boards and commissions. This raises concerns about the impartiality and effectiveness of these bodies in carrying out their mandated responsibilities.

Section 2: The Alaska Board of Game and its skewed focus

One of the most prominent examples of this politicization is the Alaska Board of Game, which has been criticized for its skewed focus on hunting and trapping. Lobbyists for the hunting community and conservative politicians have exerted significant influence in shaping the composition and agenda of this board.

This narrow focus on hunting and trapping has resulted in a lack of diversity in the selection of board members. The majority of appointees to the Board of Game have been individuals with affiliations to hunting and trapping interests. This raises concerns about the representation of other stakeholder groups and the interests of non-hunting Alaskans.

Section 3: The implications of hunters dominating the Board of Game

The dominance of hunters on the Board of Game has significant implications for wildlife management in Alaska. It raises questions about the violation of the Alaska Constitution, which states that wildlife belongs to all Alaskans. Hunters represent a minority of the population, and their interests should not be prioritized over those of non-hunters.

Furthermore, there are non-consumptive ways of enjoying wildlife that should be considered in wildlife management decisions. Many Alaskans, including hunters, derive enjoyment from activities such as wildlife viewing, photography, and birdwatching. These activities contribute to Alaska’s tourism industry and provide economic benefits to local communities.

Section 4: Governor’s inconsistent appointments

Another area of concern is the governor’s inconsistent appointments to various boards and commissions. The qualifications of appointees to the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, for example, have been called into question. It appears that the governor believes that less knowledge about commercial fishing is better, which raises concerns about the effectiveness of this commission in managing Alaska’s fisheries.

Similarly, the appointment of conservative radio host Rick Green to the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve Advisory Council raises eyebrows. Green’s lack of expertise in eagles or wildlife management raises questions about the motivations behind his appointment.

Section 5: Comparison with other Alaska boards and commissions

When compared to other Alaska boards and commissions, the selection criteria and policies of the Board of Game stand out. Many other boards require diverse representation and ensure that members have no financial interest in the profession or practice they regulate.

For example, the State Medical Board and the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar have policies in place to ensure diverse representation and prevent conflicts of interest. These policies recognize the importance of considering various perspectives and avoiding undue influence from specific interest groups.

Section 6: Potential changes to the Board of Game

Given the concerns raised about the composition and focus of the Board of Game, there is a need for potential changes to ensure greater representation and balanced decision-making.

One potential change is the inclusion of representatives from environmental organizations, recreational organizations, and tourism organizations on the board. By including perspectives from these stakeholder groups, a broader range of interests can be considered in wildlife management decisions.

Additionally, representation of professional non-governmental wildlife biologists and non-hunters can help bring diverse perspectives and expertise to the board. This would ensure that decisions are based on scientific knowledge and a comprehensive understanding of Alaska’s wildlife.

Section 7: Addressing the broad diversity of public interests in wildlife

It is crucial to address the broad diversity of public interests in wildlife and involve various stakeholders in the decision-making process. Wildlife management decisions should not be solely driven by the interests of a specific group, such as hunters. Instead, a balanced approach that considers the needs and concerns of all Alaskans is necessary.

The governor plays a significant role in promoting balanced wildlife management by appointing individuals who reflect the diversity of public interests and ensuring that board members are qualified and knowledgeable in their respective fields. This will help restore public trust and confidence in Alaska’s wildlife management practices.

Section 8: Author’s credentials

As the author of this article, Rick Sinnott, I bring relevant credentials and experience to the table. I am a former Alaska Department of Fish and Game wildlife biologist with a comprehensive understanding of the issues surrounding wildlife management in Alaska. My background allows me to provide informed insight and analysis on the topic at hand.

Furthermore, I currently reside in Chugiak, Alaska, which gives me a unique perspective on the local context and challenges faced in managing Alaska’s wildlife.

Section 9: Disclaimer by the Anchorage Daily News

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author, Rick Sinnott, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Anchorage Daily News. The publication of diverse viewpoints is a core principle of the Anchorage Daily News, and the inclusion of this article is part of their commitment to providing a platform for a broad range of perspectives.

Readers are encouraged to submit their own opinions and viewpoints for consideration. Submission guidelines can be found on the Anchorage Daily News website, ensuring that a wide variety of voices are represented in the publication.

Section 10: Author’s contact information

For further inquiries or to contact the author, Rick Sinnott, please use the following email address: This contact information can be used for any additional questions or follow-up discussions related to the content of this article.

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