Fisheries board member steps down, citing workload and bout with COVID

Indy Walton was appointed to the Board of Fish last fall. (Courtesy of Indy Walton)

Indy Walton of Soldotna has resigned from his seat on the state Board of Fisheries, the seven-member board that makes decisions about fish allocation and management in Alaska’s waters.

Walton said he’s dealing with a confluence of health issues that have been exacerbated by stress and a bout of COVID-19. While he thought he could balance those issues when he accepted Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s nomination in September, he said he has since had to reconsider.

“I hoped when I accepted the position that things would be different and change as far as my schedule, and I didn’t realize some of the health issues that I was being faced with until doing some tests,” he said. “And I know now I’ve got to alleviate some of the stress and lighten my load a little bit.”

He said his workload is another factor. Walton is a financial adviser with the Soldotna branch of Edward Jones.

Walton’s resignation caps a four-month tenure on the board, the Cordova Times first reported. Dunleavy appointed Walton to the seventh open seat on the board last fall, after his previous nominee was rejected by the Alaska Legislature.

Walton lives in Soldotna and has roots in both the commercial and sport fishing sectors. He owns a sport fishing lodge in Igiugig and commercial fishes in Bristol Bay. He’s also an outspoken critic of the controversial Pebble Mine project.

In his time on the board, Walton attended one work session in Anchorage.

He said he’s frustrated he has to take a step back from the board now. And he might consider pursuing the position again if his situation changes down the road.

In the meantime, he hopes whoever takes his place can bring experience from multiple sectors.

“I would love to see somebody who has an open mind that can try to bring both sides of the commercial and sport sides of fishing together to work out some of the impasses that are currently at bay,” he said.

Board of Fisheries Executive Director Glenn Haight said Dunleavy has 30 days to make a new appointment to the board. His office is now accepting applications for the three-year position.

Separately, the board’s next meeting, scheduled for January in Ketchikan, has been postponed due to high COVID-19 case counts in Southeast Alaska.

KDLL - Kenai

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