AK Gov. Mike Dunleavy                Credit: Matt Buxton, The Midnight Sun blog

The AK Seafood Marketing Institute is the lone marketing arm for Alaska seafood but it no longer gets a single penny in state funds. Yesterday Governor Dunleavy went back on his word and vetoed $3 million in federal CARES funds for ASMI – after raving about its importance a week ago.

The funding was intended to offset costs and additional safety measures that seafood businesses have had to bear due to the Covid pandemic.

ASMI is a partnership between the state and the Alaskan seafood industry funded by a tax on processors to promote domestic and foreign sales of nearly all fish and shellfish species.

“Alaska’s seafood industry is a strong pillar of our economy and my administration is committed to supporting ASMI’s urgent and substantial need following unplanned industry-wide COVID-19 costs,” Dunleavy said on his website on June 25.

“No one does seafood like the Last Frontier, with its world-class stocks of fresh, nutritious, and wild protein. Our fleets have weathered the storm of COVID, now it’s time to keep delivering a piece of Alaska on a dish around the globe.”

He added: “The CARES funding to ASMI is critical to cover the additional expenses incurred when the marketing focus had to shift, literally overnight, due to the effects and response to COVID-19 in order to retain the value of Alaska’s global brand. This grant…will help preserve Alaska seafood’s strong and highly sought-after position in the world marketplace,” he added….

Alaska and Washington each received $50 million of $300 million in seafood-related relief included in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that was passed by Congress in March 2020.