Thursday evening, Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens will deliver his first major speech in Alaska since before the November election, his flawed conviction and acquittal. He is the keynote speaker for the annual commercial fisheries exhibition, called Comfish Alaska, in Kodiak. Gov. Sarah, and Todd Palin will be there for Stevens' address.
This year's keynote dinner will honor "20 initial inductees to the UFA [United Fishermen of Alaska] Seafood Hall of Fame, whose names will be announced at the dinner. The group, chosen from more than 50 people nominated, includes representatives of many regions and fisheries in the state, who have contributed in a number of ways, from fisheries science to policy making."
I wish I had more time to write about this before the conference-exhibition. I'll have to leave it at this observation:
Last year's AK-AL House candidate forum was excellent. ComFish is dragging anchor, however. It is a trade show tacked onto appearances by the actors of whatever political show is coming up next. 2009, however, is shaping up to be perhaps the most important year in a generation for attention paid to fisheries issues. Blue water, coastal, and riverine - all of them are begging for more sustainable management approaches.
ComFish is all about the products involved with building, manning and maintaining fishing boats and processors. So the conference usually buries anything beyond a nod to habitat, ecological issues and shoreside (or upriver) impacts not related to "the fleet."
Stevens will most likely be kept in a sort of security bubble while in Kodiak. Nobody wants a repetition of this scene from two years ago: