Fish Radio
Budget impasse causes layoff notices, fisheries hit hardest
June 3, 2015

 This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Fisheries get hit hardest from the budget stall. A list of layoffs – including all ferries – after this –

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 It’s been six weeks since Alaska legislators walked off the job leaving the state budget behind. Thirty day layoff notices went out this week to thousands of state employees who will be off the job at the start of the July 1 fiscal year.

Hit hardest is the Commercial Fisheries Division. A core staff will remain to manage salmon fisheries, but field staff at remote weirs and other counting projects will be laid off in a phased approach during July and August.

The division’s five research vessels will be tied up and office staff, labs, data support, subsistence surveys and other services will be cut back or halted. CommFish Director Jeff Regnart says other fisheries besides salmon are likely to be put on hold.

 “Other fisheries? I think there will be an impact across the boardOther fisheries that aren’t salmon that could be put off if it’s possible from a biological perspective and maybe taken at another time, we’ll look at that.”

 If the budget impasse continues, the Dept. of Transportation will tie up all 11 state ferries meaning no passenger service; many state airports will operate with reduced hours. Public Facilities will provide emergency monitoring and response only, and Transportation staff will be reduced to paying bills and doing payroll.

 Core services by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation will be suspended. That includes shellfish PSP testing, air and water monitoring and permitting and inspections.

The Dept. of Administration will delay or cancel vendor purchases and payment on supplies statewide, meaning a loss of nearly $2 million in state contracts paid out each day to Alaska small businesses. Finally, the Dept. of Natural resources will delay issuance of various permits and authorizations.

 Find links to the budget impacts to all state agencies here

 Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at – In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.