Fish Radio

Early fish bills: keeping permits in AK, enhancement permits

January 15, 2016           Budget cartoon, Chenault

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch — One early fish bill aims to keep permits in Alaskan hands, another hands over salmon enhancement efforts to Alaskans. More after this —

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Cutting the budget will dominate the 90 day agenda when the Alaska legislature convenes on Tuesday, January 19. But two early fish bills already are getting attention.

One measure aims to stop the migration of fishing permits outside of the state.  The House Fisheries Committee is writing a bill that would establish a permit bank to reverse the trend and keep more fishing privileges in the hands of Alaskans.

Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Thomkins of Sitka plans to introduce the bill this session.  He said a permit bank would be funded by local communities and wouldn’t cost the state any extra money.  Such a  bank would offer  several types of permits that would be proportional and reflective of the fisheries in an Alaska region.

The Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation already is sponsoring permits for more young fishermen in that region. Spokesman Robin Samuelson said a permit bank would help facilitate that effort.

Another fish bill has already been prefiled.  HB 220  by Healy Republican David Talerico would allow Alaskans to act like personal fish hatcheries with so called “fisheries enhancement permits.”  Talerico’s district includes Yukon River communities that have been hit by restrictions on fishing for king salmon.

The permits would allow people to take eggs, grow them into smolt and then release them wherever they want into the wild.  The permit would also allow groups or individuals to “enhance habitat and augment nutrients” in state waterways to support fish.  Calling it “a tool in our toolbox to support Fish and Game,”  Talerico told the Juneau Empire that if many smaller facilities can do the work of a handful of larger facilities, it will help Alaska’s budget.

The enhancement permits also would be available to tribes and sportsmen’s groups, Talerico said, adding “Those guys know how to raise money in a hurry.”

Fish Radio will be following these and other fish bills during the session. Find links at

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.