Fish Radio
July 19, 2013

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch …. Marking up the fish bucks in Congress – and Senator Murkowski defends the feds. More after this –


Budget items for Alaska fish, Murkowski defends the feds

Sen. Lisa Murkowski at Kodiak harbor

Sen. Lisa Murkowski at Kodiak harbor

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 Policy makers in Washington, DC are carving up the budget in various appropriations committees. Several Alaska fish measures have survived so far, says Senator Lisa Murkowski, with the Commerce, Justice and Science committee.

   Funding for fisheries disasters at $150 million for Alaska. We also had funds inserted for Marine debris at the FY13 enacted level of $5 million.  …

 Murkowski is also pressing for faster action on electronic monitoring systems for Alaska’s longline fleet.   The EMS would replace observers required on board to collect fisheries data.

   If there is one thing I’ve heard as I’ve been out walking the docks –people want to take me in onto their boat  and show me –where are you going to put an observer on this vessel that has room for three and maybe four if you squish them in.  

With today’s advanced technology, Murkowski says, NOAA Fisheries can figure out a system that works for small fishing businesses.

  I understand that data is important I’m not arguing that – I’m just saying we can smarter in how we collect it.

 Alaska state leaders are often criticized for bashing the federal government for ‘overreach’ while at the same time taking and asking for money.

  Those are probably somewhat apt in their description.

Murkowski points out that Alaska is entitled to federal dollars because of the makeup of our state.

 Think about the 33,000 miles of coastline – in Southeast that’s pretty much forest service land all the way up to Yakutat – in other parts of the state it’s federal ownership through BLM or Parks Services or in refuges or in wilderness – there is an obligation that the federal government has to the state of Alaska because of our lands designation, and that is aside from the obligation it has to its constituents.  

  In Alaska, 80% of all seafood landings hail from waters managed by federal agencies. .

  And so when you think of the federal dollars that we ask for from the government it is not because we have sharper elbows than other legislators, it’s because of the makeup of our state and the role that federal government plays on our lands and waters.  

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.