|PETERSBURG -- Gov. Sean Parnell's appointment to head Alaska's Fish and Game Department is drawing the ire of a Native group that accuses Cora Campbell of being unqualified and biased toward commercial fishing.
KFSK-FM reports that Alaska Native Brotherhood's Subsistence Committee chair Bob Loescher said the 31-year-old Campbell is too young and lacks relationships with Alaska's Native population to be an effective commissioner.
Campbell, who is not a research biologist, or trained in fisheries or wildlife management, said she can work with subsistence fishermen and hopes to meet with the Alaska Native Brotherhood to talk about their concerns.
Parnell decided last week to appoint Campbell to head Fish and Game. She had been acting commissioner since Dec. 1, when Denby Lloyd retired. Her appointment will have to be approved by the Legislature.
Campbell, who grew up in the fishing community of Petersburg and worked as a young woman on her father's fishing boat, was one of two applicants submitted for consideration by the Joint Board of Fisheries and Game and forwarded to Parnell for consideration. The other was Ron Somerville, a former Board of Game chairman.
Unlike Lloyd, whose first job with ADF&G was in 1974 doing test fisheries, Campbell did not rise from within an agency. She has, however, worked for two governors. Her resume includes work as fisheries adviser for former Gov. Sarah Palin, in commercial fishing, and as an executive director of a regional fishing association.
Parnell has said he picked Campbell, and is making his other appointments, to bring new energy to his administration.
Myron Naneng, president of the Alaska Village Council Presidents, also has expressed concerns about Campbell and worries that subsistence users in Western Alaska will be overlooked under her watch.