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Smith waits -- and waits -- for Klamath Council appointment

By John Driscoll The Times-Standard

During the beginning stages of hashing out what may be the slimmest salmon fishing season in years in February, Jimmy Smith was sitting in the audience.

The Humboldt County 1st District supervisor wasn't able to weigh in on potential recommendations for regulating fishing.

It's not because he didn't want to.

The application he submitted to the governor last summer to fill the empty ocean recreation fishing representative slot on the Klamath Fishery Management Council hasn't been answered.

"Regardless of whether I'm appointed or not, I'm going to work with the council," Smith said.

But if there's no appointment, it won't be official, and he won't get a vote.

While it may be seen as a relatively obscure seat, the council's recommendations bear weight with state and federal regulators as they set limits, quotas and area closures for the salmon season. The position requires understanding of complicated models, fisheries and even the history of how the Klamath's fish are parceled out.

Smith's got it.

The next meeting is Sunday. Smith will go, but unless something happens quick, he'll be in the audience again.

"The department has done what it can in terms of making the recommendation," said California Department of Fish and Game Fisheries Program Manager Gary Stacey.

As usual, the governor's office wouldn't comment on its appointment process.

But Smith is hopeful that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will make the appointment, and said Schwarzenegger has been willing to "cross the aisle" and put Democrats on key boards.





Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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