Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Alaska House Considers Year of the Salmon Resolution

A resolution working its way through the Alaska House of Representatives honors the International Year of the Salmon and supports an associated global initiative identifying the importance of wild salmon.

House Resolution 8, sponsored by Anchorage Democrat Garen Tarr, calls for support of research efforts to extend through 2022 as part of the global initiative and encourages a collaborative effort to uphold regulatory processes that apply best practices to the management of wild salmon fisheries.

The resolution further calls for support and investment in scientific research to better understand wild salmon populations of the northern hemisphere, and to better manage wild salmon populations and the industries wild salmon support. It also celebrates the health and social benefits the fisheries industry provides to the nation.

HR 8 was heard on April 23 in the House Fisheries Committee, chaired by Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak. It will next be considered by the Alaska House Resources committee before heading for the House floor and Alaska Senate.

Those testifying in favor of the resolution included Tyson Fick, a commercial harvester and owner of Taku River Reds in Juneau, Alaska, and executive director Erin Harrington of non-profit The Salmon Project in Anchorage, Alaska, herself a Bristol Bay harvester, as well as Mark Saunders and Doug Mecum, who are affiliated with the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC), based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The International Year of the Salmon is a project launched by the NPAFC, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and other partners. NPAFC members include Canada, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States of America.

“We all agree that we like salmon and this is the state that has them” Fick said. “There is a real opportunity in Alaska to celebrate our leadership. We have solved overfishing issues in the U.S. by following Alaska’s lead.”

“Nine out of 10 Alaskans view salmon as an important Alaska value,” Harrington noted. The resolution also drew support from Washington State Rep. Deborah Lekanoff, who is from Yakutat, Alaska, and Oregon legislator Ken Helm, who said he is proud of resolutions in all three states honoring the International Year of the Salmon.

“Political boundaries do not mean a lot to our wild salmon,” Tarr said. “I hope this is just the beginning of these collaborations.

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