Robert Ruffner

Redoubt Reporter

With more sockeye salmon showing up in Cook Inlet, the commercial fishing season is due to get underway in the next few weeks. But this season is different for everyone, from processors to set-netters.

The coronavirus pandemic has put extra hurdles in the way for commercial fishing. Many of the processing employees come from out of state each year, as do many deckhands and fishermen. On top of that, most fisheries in the state operate in small communities with limited health care resources. The Kenai Peninsula is no exception.

The Kenai City Council held a hybrid, in-person and phone-in meeting Wednesday night. The first order of business was extending the city’s emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City offices and facilities are closed for the time being but staff are still available over email and phone to assist the public.

The council also modified city code to be able to hold meetings more over the phone in the future. Existing code limited how many council and commission members could call in to establish a quorum. Meetings will still be held in a way that allows participation from the public but council and committee members will be participating from afar.

In other business, the council passed a resolution supporting Robert Ruffner for appointment to the Alaska Board of Fisheries. Ruffner is the retired executive director of the Kenai Watershed Forum.

Alaska Board of Fisheries

  Amid the turmoil of the Alaska Board of Fisheries’ flip-flopping meeting sites, the Kenai City Council came out firmly behind the local representative on the regulatory body.

At its most recent meeting, the council passed with unanimous consent supporting Robert Ruffner for another term on the Fish Board.

Emily Kwong/KCAW

 

A surprise vote by the Alaska Board of Fisheries Friday caught the fishing community on the Kenai Peninsula off guard. Triennial meetings regarding Upper Cook Inlet fishing issues haven’t been held on the Peninsula in nearly two decades. The board recently voted to begin moving those meetings around on a rotating basis, including holding the 2020 session on the Peninsula. But after Friday’s vote, that two-week meeting will be held once again in Anchorage.

 

 


Alaska Board of Fisheries

Robert Ruffner of Soldotna has retrieved his hat from a very crowded ring, full of contestants vying for the Republican mantle in the State House Seat 31 primary against the long-time incumbent.

Ruffner said he recognized a responsibility to donors and supporters when he realized the time commitment wasn’t viable.

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