Fish Radio

UFA positions on early fish bills, budget cuts

January 26, 2016

UFA President Jerry McCune

UFA President Jerry McCune

This is Fish Radio. I’m Laine Welch. Fishing budgets, bills and Alaska  lawmakers. UFA positions after this –

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At a time when a single Chinook salmon is worth more than a barrel of oil, fishermen want to make sure any budget cuts and new taxes don’t cut core services that keep them from fishing.

 Not all cuts are equal, and if there are cuts that interfere with the science needed for responsible and sustainable fish harvesting, many times in the absence of information, it will throttle down fisheries and reduce opportunity.

Mark Vinsel is Executive Administrator for United Fishermen of Alaska. Governor Walker has proposed a one percent surtax on the Fisheries Business Tax and  Fisheries Landing Tax to raise about $20 million.  UFA president Jerry McCune –

 We are willing to listen to any proposal. If there is going to be raises in the taxes we would like to see it across the board to be fair for everybody.  

On other fronts:  McCune said UFA is working closely with Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins of Sitka on  his bill on creating  a permit bank  to reverse the trend of  permits migrating out of the state. The bank, funded by Alaska fishing communities, would buy nonresident permits and lease them to young fishermen who otherwise could not afford them.  Regarding HB 220 – a bill already filed that would allow “fisheries enhancement permits” for groups and individuals, McCune says UFA is skeptical.

 You can’t move one stock to another area, and you must go through all the things that a normal hatchery operator or anyone who wants to do fishery enhancements is required to do. You can’t just willy-nilly run out and start a hatchery and not have any consideration for wild stocks where it’s going to located and things like that.

Other fish issues will surface as the Alaska legislature gets into full swing. McCune says it’s more important than ever to pay attention.

It’s a big agonizing for everyone waiting to see what will happen. But you’ve got to work the process. It’s not going to be up to just UFA, but different groups and individuals are going to have to weigh in on different issues. My message to all the fishermen in the state is pay attention to what’s going on and make sure you have your say.

UFA is the nation’s largest commercial fishing trade organization, with 35 member groups. Find links at our website

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.