Alaska Board of Fisheries Members

Group photo October 2019; board members standing in front of metal fish art
The Board of Fisheries in October 2019. From left to right: Gerad Godfrey, John Wood, John Jensen, Märit Carlson-Van Dort, Fritz Johnson (former member), Israel Payton, and Reed Morisky (former member). Not pictured are McKenzie Mitchell and Abe Williams.
John Jensen

John Jensen - Petersburg

Term expires 6/30/2023

John was first appointed to the Board of Fisheries by Governor Murkowski in 2003. John lives in Petersburg and participates in crab and halibut fisheries in Southeast Alaska, and owns Jensen's Boat Rentals. John attended Yakama Valley College and has over 45 years of fishing experience in a variety of areas of the state.

John can be reached by email.

Israel Payton

Israel Payton - Wasilla

Term expires 6/30/2022

Israel Payton, of Wasilla, is a lifelong Alaskan. Israel was born in a 12x12 trapper's cabin near the Hayes River. His first fishing trip was on his father's back when he was 3 days old. He was raised in Skwentna and grew up harvesting fish and game, living a subsistence life spending nearly every day of his youth on the water or in the woods. Israel has had many jobs taking him all over Alaska: guide, North Slope operator, welder, commercial pilot, construction, airplane mechanic, deckhand, and property manager, to name a few. Israel enjoys hunting, fishing, flying, and reaching out to sportsmen and user groups, getting different perspectives and understanding of fisheries issues. He has participated in the Board of Fisheries & Game meetings for many years and is a past Advisory Committee member.

Israel can be reached by email.

Marit Carlson-Van Dort

Märit Carlson-Van Dort - Anchorage

Term expires 6/30/2024

Märit Carlson-Van Dort is Sugpiaq from the village of Chignik Bay. She was born in Alaska and raised in Southeast Alaska and the southern Alaska Peninsula where she commercial fished for nearly fifteen years. Marit has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate work in Fisheries Science and Secondary Education. Märit has spent the past several years working in both the public and private sectors in public and government affairs with an emphasis on state and federal regulation, environmental policy, permitting, resource development, and community outreach and engagement. Currently she is employed as the President & CEO of Far West, Inc. an Alaska Native village corporation formed under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). In addition to her work at Far West, she has served on the board of directors of STAR of Anchorage, a local non-profit providing advocacy and support services to victims of sexual trauma, and was a proud volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska.

Märit can be reached by email.

John Wood

John Wood - Willow

Term expires 6/30/2024

After earning his Juris Doctorate from LSU in 1971, John immediately moved to Alaska. His first job was working for the Alaska Superior Court as a law clerk and standing master. In 1973 John opened the doors to his law firm and practiced through the mid 90s before retiring. He has served in numerous appointed and elected positions including over 9 years on the Anchorage Assembly. Currently lives in Willow nestled in Hatcher Pass between two salmon streams and can be seen frequently during the summer fishing Southcentral waters either floating, wading or on his riverboat. John became intrigued by the unique approach of the BOF while employed as legislative staff in the 2014 cycle and welcomes the opportunity to help find solutions to some of long standing issues that seem to divide our community year after year. John’s highest priority will be to protect and enhance the strength of our stocks both in the numbers and size of the returns and harvests.

John can be reached by email.

Gerad Godfrey

Gerad Godfrey - Eagle River

Term expires 6/30/2022

Gerad Godfrey of Eagle River grew up commercial fishing in the Kodiak Island Fishery for twelve years. He spent fourteen years working on the North Slope and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the Port of Valdez. Mr. Godfrey has worked for Afognak Native Corporation since 2009, recently becoming the Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. Previously, he was Governor Walker’s senior policy advisor on rural affairs and served for 17 years as the chairman of the Violent Crimes Compensation Board. Mr. Godfrey has held numerous other board seats including AFN, ANVCA, and the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce.

Gerad can be reached by email.

McKenzie Mitchell

McKenzie Mitchell - Fairbanks

Term expires 6/30/2023

McKenzie Mitchell received her B.A. in Economics as well as her M.S. in Resource and Applied Economics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). Her graduate degree work was concentrated in fisheries management and she now teaches economics and recreation management courses at UAF. McKenzie has worked in Alaska’s hunting and fishing industry for 10 years doing the jobs of hunting guide, boat captain, and sport fishing guide. Her passion for fisheries and Alaska’s resources is supported by her industry work and education.

McKenzie can be reached by email.

Mike Heimbuch
Homer News file photo by Michael Armstrong. Used with permission of the Homer News.

Mike Heimbuch - Homer

Term expires 6/30/2023

Mike Heimbuch is a lifelong Alaskan who was raised in Anchorage and has lived in Homer since 1975. He studied music at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, homesteaded in Willow in 1960, and began commercial fishing with his folks in 1963. Over the decades he has participated in a wide array of fisheries across the state as well as holding local office and serving on various commissions and boards.

Mike can be reached by email.

Board Committee Assignments 2021-2022 (PDF 272 kB)

Previous Board Members (Since 1975)


Please contact the Boards Support main office at (907) 465-4110, or see detailed contact information.