Juneau mayor race attracts “fisheries” candidate, Greg Fisk
September 17, 2015
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Juneau’s mayor race has a focus on fisheries. More after this –
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Raising the profile of fisheries and the clout of coastal communities are top issues for Greg Fisk, a candidate for Juneau mayor. He’s up against incumbent Merrill Sanford who is seeking a second term.
I just think Juneau needs more active and innovative leadership as we look into the future. … I’ve been privileged to work in a lot of different places and I have a lot of international experience. I think that is one of the things I can bring to the table.
Fisk, who fishes halibut commercially, has lived in Juneau since 1959 and been involved in fisheries advocacy and development projects in Alaska and internationally for nearly 40 years. He now runs SeaFisk, a small consulting firm.
People don’t tend to think of Juneau as a fishing town and yet it is a pretty important segment of our economy. It’s about five percent of our economy and there is room for growth. That may not sound like much, but its’ about equivalent to other major enterprise centers here like the UAS or our regional hospital or our airport. So it’s an important building block.
Alaska will always be an ‘energy’ state, Fisk says, but much more economic value could be gained from its seafood industry.
But I think a lot of people forget that the statehood fight was based on fish and control over our fishery resources, and fishing industry in Alaska and processing is an enormous industry and we don’t capture a lot of the value of in Alaska, a lot of it goes directly to Seattle . There are a lot of things we can do to correct that.
One goal is to get more federal fishery research jobs and vessels relocated to Alaska. Fisk led a Task Force proving the economic plusses that would provide.
One really long standing issue has been that of federal fisheries research jobs that should be in Alaska, contributing to our economy and helping our university grow and contributing more here. Most of those Alaska dedicated positions, in fact 75 percent of them, are still in Seattle and that’s hundreds of jobs.
Fisk says he would like to see Alaska become a place that not only exports fish, but also expertise, knowledge and equipment, similar to Iceland.
There is tremendous growth potential there. That’s the way I look at it.
Fisk says building better communication with other coastal communities also is a mayoral goal.
One thing we need to think about is this whole idea of coastal Alaska communities communicating more. That’s one thing I’d really like to do – reach out more to our counterparts along the coast and just develop understanding, that mentality where people are cooperating, exchanging views and ideas and just trying to make coastal Alaska an even stronger and more interesting place to live.
Local elections across Alaska are October 6.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods, serving Alaska’s fishing communities since 1910. On the web at www.oceanbeauty.com – In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.