United Fishermen of Alaska, the umbrella group representing commercial seafood harvesters, has reaffirmed its endorsement of Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska for re-election to the US Senate.
The endorsement came during UFA’s 40th annual conference, in Anchorage, during which Begich outlined his goal of representing Alaska’s interests in reauthorization of the Magnuson-Steven Fishery Conservation and Management Act.
Begich, who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, supported inclusion in the continuing resolution passed recently by Congress of a number of budget items critical to commercial fisheries. These included marine resource research and management, tsunami debris cleanup from the 2011 Japanese tsunami event, salmon management activities, ocean acidification, fishery stock assessments and survey and monitoring projects, marine mammal research, mapping, salmon conservation in federal waters, and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund.
Begich will debate Republican opponent Dan Sullivan on commercial fisheries issues for one hour tonight at Kodiak. The debate – an election year tradition since 1990 – will be broadcast live statewide on the Alaska Public Radio Network from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Alaska time. Questions posed by journalists and by one candidate to another are limited to the single topic of Alaska’s fisheries industry. The second hour of the Kodiak fisheries debate, sponsored by the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce, pits incumbent Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, against challenger Forrest Dunbar, who grew up working as a commercial fisherman in Cordova.