Washington, D.C. – On September 12th, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) completed the public comment period for its notice of proposed rulemaking to update the National Standards of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The National Standards are principles that govern fisheries management decisions nationwide, including goals for allocation, bycatch, and fisheries-dependent communities. The Standards were last updated in 2016, prior to significant population crashes among key marine species in Alaska. Representative Peltola has worked since entering office to bring attention to the need to update the Standards to address scarcity in crucial species including salmon and crab.
“In Alaska, fishing is our way of life. It’s how we feed our families, keep roofs over our heads, and pass on our traditions through generations,” said Rep. Peltola. “The oceans and freshwater habitats are continually changing, now more than ever. King crab, snow crab, and Yukon River salmon fisheries collapsed last year, and in Norton Sound, crab pots are coming up filled with cod instead of crab. For fisheries management to succeed, the tools fisheries managers and councils use to make decisions must change and adapt. We need to overhaul our entire system to be pro-fish. That’s not just a slogan—it’s a mission statement, and it begins with the National Standards. While we figure out this piece of the puzzle, I will also continue working with Senator Murkowski and Senator Sullivan to protect Alaskan fishermen from illegal Russian and Chinese manipulation of the seafood market, and elevating the voices of Alaskans as we take every possible step to protect and rebuild our fisheries.”
As NOAA reviews the public comments and considers moving forward with the rulemaking process, Rep. Peltola’s office will continue to advocate for updated standards that prioritize a productive ocean for all user groups. Rep. Peltola’s full comments are attached to this press release.