Politics aside, one thing that can be said about Republican candidate for governor, Mead Treadwell, is that he knows fish.
“One thing I know is that fishing is Alaska’s largest employer and you can’t have good fishing unless you have good science and good transparent management.”
Treadwell touts research as the cornerstone for fisheries sustainability.
“I believe we could double or triple the endowed science available for North Pacific, Bering Sea and Arctic marine research and I think it’s very important to do.”
Treadwell was a past chairman of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, involved with the North Pacific Research Board and one of the earliest advocates for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
As a student of international fisheries policy law, his first job, he says, was as a ‘foot soldier’ fighting for the 200 mile limit that removed foreign fishing fleets from U.S. waters.
He also advocated for Alaska’s CDQ program.
Treadwell points to other protein industries and believes Alaska’s seafood industry could add jobs and revenues by using more of the fish.
“They want to sell everything except the squeal in the hog industry. I think we have to do much more with all of the fish, the proteins, the oils, and value added here means we are not exporting jobs. Let’s look at our incentives for keeping processing plants open year round — it might be a fix in power costs, it might be something to do with tax policy. And then if you know you’ve got a plant open year round there are other things we could do to encourage value added, to help marketing and I want to see us get more from the fish that we catch.”
Treadwell says he is a big supporter of growing the state’s mariculture industry, including biofuels.
“As governor you control the tidelands. We can make the tidelands available for mariculture and back that up with a process that helps financing and helps grow an industry. We’ve done that before with other industries so I’m excited about that. And this opportunity with energy is also significant. I’ve visited some of the labs that are working on algal energy and I think we have to look at these kinds of opportunities to diversify our economy.”
As governor, Treadwell says, he also would fight to get more more Chinook salmon for Southeast Alaskans who have lost more than 60 percent of their catch quotas over 30 years in the treaty with Canada.
“We have lost too much of that allocation and it’s just not fair.”
Prior to running for office, Treadwell worked for years as a high technology entrepreneur who helped start companies that developed the digital watermarking system that helps protect world currencies and DVDs from counterfeiting. Another introduced the high tech camera that launched Google’s Streetview, MapQuest’s 360 View, and was used by our U.S. military’s street level mapping programs in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mead Treadwell’s Republican opponent is Mike Dunleavy of Wasilla. Attempts to interview Dunleavy have been unsuccessful.
Voters will make their choice next week on Tuesday, August 21.