Clay Bezenek and Alan Andersen appointed to Fishermen’s Fund Advisory Board

Governor Palin appointed Alan Andersen and Clay Bezenek to the Fishermen’s Fund Advisory and Appeals Council. 

The Council oversees the administration of the Fishermen’s Fund, a state-run program which provides medical benefits to Alaska’s licensed commercial fishermen who are injured or become ill while commercial fishing in Alaska.  The Fund receives a portion of resident and nonresident commercial fishing license and permit fees, and uses those funds to pay benefits to injured fishermen.  The Council also reviews appeals of decisions by the Fund administrator. 

Andersen, of Sitka, began commercial fishing with his father at age 12, and has spent 33 years in Southeast Alaska fisheries, as a salmon troller, and halibut and herring fisherman.  He has served as a director of the Seafood Producers’ Cooperative for 18 years, helping build the Sitka plant that processes two-thirds of its members’ catch.  He has served for 10 years on the board of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association, a self-sustaining salmon hatchery operation.  He has also worked in tax accounting.  Andersen earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics from Western Washington University in Bellingham.  He was appointed to represent District 2, northern Southeast Alaska. 

Bezenek, of Ketchikan, has been a commercial fisherman in Alaska for 24 years, fishing for crab, herring, halibut, black cod and salmon variously in the Bering Sea, Southeast, and Bristol Bay, and participating in shellfish dive fisheries in Southeast.  He has owned a seafood processing plant in Craig since 1983.  He was a founding member, and for three years a board member, of Southeast Alaska Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDA).  Bezenek also served on Ketchikan’s advisory board for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.  He studied biology at Concordia College in Moorehead, Minnesota, and holds a U.S. Coast Guard 50-ton license.  He was appointed to represent District 1, southern Southeast Alaska. 

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