From the archive: It was a packed house on the first day of the Southeast Shellfish and Finfish meeting in Sitka, in 2018. (KCAW/Emily Kwong)

This weekend, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced it’s postponing the upcoming Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting, due to coronavirus concerns.

The Board of Fish is the group that makes regulatory decisions around the state managed fisheries. It was set to kick off its twelve day Southeast shellfish and finfish meeting in Ketchikan on January 4. According to an ADF&G press release issued on Saturday (1-1-22), the meeting was postponed due to the sharp increase of COVID-19 cases throughout the United States and in Southeast Alaska. 

The Southeast meeting, which happens every three years, had already been postponed more than once. Last spring, the Board of Fish postponed all in-person meetings due to COVID-19.

According to the release, key staff have already tested positive for COVID and are unable to participate in the meeting. The board estimated that at least 200 people would attend the meeting from around the state, and a gathering that large has the potential to cause a “significant case spike” in Ketchikan. Under the advice of healthcare professionals who helped the board develop its COVID mitigation plan, they decided to cancel.

The board has not set a new date and location for the postponed meeting.