Fishing Industry

As an Alaskan First candidate for Senate District C,  I was determined to not only educate myself about, but to also find the issues with, Alaska’s Salmon Stocks. After meeting with several commercial fisherman and biologist, everything was explained to me on how the fisheries work from escapement, algae, and sportfishing prior to salmon spawning.

Reports were made by our biologist, however those reports were ignored by the board of fisheries who were focused on sport fisheries, not our commercial industry. Competition between our commercial fishing industry, and Charters have caused a divide that must be addressed.

After speaking with canneries, I learned many are saying the bycatch is being wasted. It’s actually being sold to SeaShare.com and processed. Problem is,  it’s still devastating our coastal waters. The governor actually can impose a “No Drag” buffer around all Alaskan waters. I would go as far as dropping concrete barriers to protect our breeding grounds, and spur the growth of our reefs. It takes 4500 years just for the coral to grow back. Alaska has Bubblegum coral that only exist in cold water climates. As many understand, this bubblegum coral is vital to our ecosystem.

As your State Senator for district C, I will always put Alaska first, whether it be protecting our Commercial Fishing industry, or our beautiful shorelines. You can count on me to be the lead in protecting Alaska’s vital industries.

Alaska fishing industry is much like many other states. Alaskans value our oceans’ eco-system, balancing it, while Alaska remains a strong exporter of seafood, with a priority to feed its own people first.

The expansion of our ever-growing government, special interest and regulations are causing divisions among different fishing groups from lack of representation in think tanks, committees, and boards. Equal representation is a must.

Alaska is the United States’ leading exporter of seafood, in both volume and value, exporting around 2/3 of the catch. The average export in weight is about 2 billion pounds.

“Alaskan Leader fisheries (Kodiak) is jointly owned by the Alaska leader group of Lynden Washington, and a Dillingham-based Bristol Bay economic development Corp. BBEDC is one of six western Alaskan community development quota, or CDQ, groups that receive a 10% annual share of the Bering Sea harvest.”

Alaska Journal of Commerce

According to the NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service), 2,736 fishing vessels participated in federal fisheries off shore. Many of those also participate in state managed fisheries.1

There has been a large outcry on “Stop Trawlers”. It is important to remember that we have top trawlers, and bottom trawlers. It is the bottom trawlers that are causing the havoc with large numbers in by-catch from our waters.

“I can see how it would be galling to have no chinook salmon returning to your river and have thousands of them being caught in the ocean out in front of the river, so I understand your frustration,” Mezirow told Peltola during public testimony. “But what I don’t understand is what the strategy of asking for zero bycatch is. That’s a huge change from where we’re at now.”

Peltola responded that the goal should be zero. 

“This year’s abysmal salmon runs to the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet and Upper Yukon rivers have already triggered one of the council’s bycatch reduction measures. But even under these rules, the trawl fleet is allowed to catch up to 45,000 kings.  And the Bering Sea isn’t the only place where bycatch is a problem.”

Tribal commercial fishing groups call for drastic reductions in trawl salmon bycatch – Alaska Public Media

Although much of the bycatch is processed and shipped across the United States to food banks by SeaShare.com, as mentioned above, many of these companies being out-of-state-based may not have Alaskans’ needs and sustainability at heart.

I spoke to the biologists about Dip Netting. We spoke of setting up fish wheels that would allow Alaskan residents to arrive at a wheel station, show their fishing license and Salmon Stamp, leaving with their family’s subsistence limit. By doing this, it cuts down on illegal dip netters, the wear and tear of our river banks, and pollution, also helping those families that cannot take a day off working to go dip net, can easily receive their salmon subsistence limit .

  1. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/alaska/sustainable-fisheries/alaska-fisheries-figures-maps-boundaries-regulatory-areas-and-zones []
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