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JUNEAU – On Monday, Senator Scott Kawasaki (D-Fairbanks) introduced Senate Bill 99 that directs the Board of Fisheries to place restrictions on sport and commercial fisheries before putting restrictions on personal use fisheries when the harvest is limited to achieve a management goal. The legislation excluded the existing priority for subsistence.
“Thousands of Alaskans depend on harvesting these resources every year to put food on their family dinner table,” said Sen. Kawasaki. “A number of fisheries in the recent past have had low returns and Alaskans have suffered.”
Personal use fisheries are unique because only Alaskan residents may qualify these permits. There are 41 personal use fisheries throughout the state that Alaskans rely on for food security, which also contributes to the economy and supports Alaskan traditions of independence, self-determination and resourcefulness.
“Large commercial fisheries interests have controlled Alaska and our fish since well before statehood, and even lead to our desire to become a state,” Sen. Kawasaki continued. “After subsistence, personal use fisheries must be the priority for harvest so Alaskans can continue to sustain themselves from our God given natural resource.”
Senate Bill 99 was referred to the Senate Resources Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. The bill received bipartisan support in the Senate with the Republicans Sen. Shelly Hughes and Sen. David Wilson from the Mat-Su region and Democratic Sen. Bill Wielechowski of Anchorage.