Federal bucks for fisheries-related needs
December 17, 2014
This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch – Alaska scores big with federal fish bucks. I’ll tell you more after this —
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Complaints about federal overreach fall by the wayside when it comes to bringing home the fish bucks. As part of the $1.1 trillion budget to fund the government next year, many fisheries needs were well funded thanks to a bipartisan push by Alaska’s senators who are both on the all important Appropriations committee. Among them: $2 million to help get electronic monitoring systems aboard Alaska’s fixed gear fishing boats in place of onboard observers.
The 2015 spending bill includes $6 million to address marine debris clean up and disposal. It also includes Sen. Murkowski’s language that clean up priorities shall be given to states swamped with debris from Japan’s horrendous tsunami in 2011.
A cool $25 million will go to sonar mapping of the nation’s coastline, and to prepare navigational information in 2015 for the Bering Straits region and the Arctic.
Remember last year’s debacle over Wal-Mart and the US Park Service’s snub of Alaska salmon because it opted out of certain third party sustainability certifiers? Alaska’s senators made sure the feds will not use or promote that out of bounds practice and instead follow its own established programs, like Fish Watch.
This year’s budget maintains funding for salmon management at $30.2 million, defying attempts to cut that funding by $3 million. The National Data Buoy Center gets $28.2 million; Sen. Murkowski also added a priority to curb the amount of outages among the buoy network.
Finally, — and what will really keep fishermen out on the water: the federal budget includes $72 million in expanded stock assessments, and $24 million for survey and monitoring projects for fisheries research and management.
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods. Ocean Beauty has contributed over 10 million meals to the U.S. Food Bank network, and is committed to ending hunger in America. www.oceanbeauty.com In Kodiak, I’m Laine Welch.