Fishing issues will take a back seat to budget cutting when the Alaska legislature convenes on January 19 for its 90-day session, but two early fish bills (and one hold-over) already are getting attention. One new measure aims to stop the migration of commercial fishing permits outside of the state. “We lost over 50 percent of our permits over the 1973 original issuance of permits’ (Robin Samuelsen).
Forty years ago at Bristol Bay, 36 percent of the more than nearly 2,000 permits were held by locals and 64 percent by nonlocals. By 2013, the numbers were 19 percent local and 81 percent nonresident. This sort of thing is really hurting Alaskan’s in the long run. All that money made from commercial fishing is going towards business out of the state. This plan could really help in keeping money made in Alaska to stay in Alaska. What is meant by this is the money that is made by fishermen here in Alaska is used in local stores and shops, which in turn can help local communities with money problems.
Jonathan Kriess said he intends to introduce a bill that would establish a permit bank to reverse the outmigration trend. The bank would buy nonresident permits and lease them to young fishermen who otherwise could not afford them. It would offer several types of fishing permits (Alaska has 65) that would be proportional and reflective of reginal fisheries. A permit bank would not cost the state any money, because it would fall to local communities to raise money.
The whole purpose of this bill is in hopes to bring money back to Alaska. It is also in hopes to bring money back to small Native villages around Alaska and rural towns in Alaska. Our communities are hurting for money and commercial fishing is a huge industry for Alaska to not capitalize on. We need our own permits back in the State to help the entire Alaska community. This bill could only help in my opinion.
The Fish Site. Alaska Fish Factor: Fishing Issues to Take a Back Seat. https://www.thefishsite.com/fishnews/27028/alaska-fish-factor-fishing-issues-to-take-a- back-seat/