I understand the importance of the Alaskan fishing industry and will continue to fight to protect and enhance our vital industry.
I am the Chair of Fish & Game Finance Subcommittee, which means I lead the creation of the Fish & Game agency budget. Although the entire State of Alaska operating budget has been cut significantly over the past four years, I have worked hard to maintain funding since taking over the Chair position in 2016. This past year, I was able to add eleven new management projects throughout the state in order to increase fishing opportunities for all fishermen. I also included funding for juvenile King salmon research, which is especially important in light of our most recent King salmon fishing seasons.
I have also sponsored and passed three bills pertaining directly to our fishing industry:
HB56 gives greater loan access to fishermen to buy or repair equipment, and purchase IFQ shares. I hope this bill gives more financial opportunity to younger fishermen as we avoid the graying of the fleet.
HB76 expands access Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund for shellfish and marine plant hatcheries. These funds will be used to develop seed supply, which is a critical part of our growing mariculture industry.
HB354 updates the self-assessment process for the Southeast Regional Dive Fisheries Association (SARDFA). This allows permit holders actively participating in the fisheries to have more control over their self-assessed tax.
Lastly, I have worked with the Walker Administration and our entire Federal Delegation - Senators Murkowski and Sullivan and Representative Young - to fight for protection of our transboundary waters from potentially disastrous Canadian mines.