ALASKA COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN ADVOCATE FOR YOUNG FISHERMEN, SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES MANAGEMENT ON CAPITOL HILL
Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association & Alaska Marine Conservation Council
Urge Alaska Lawmakers to Protect Magnuson-Stevens Act
Washington, DC – Representatives of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and the Alaska Marine Conservation Council – both members of the national Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) – were in Washington, DC, this week urging lawmakers to resist shortsighted efforts to weaken fishing communities by undermining key Magnuson-Stevens Act accountability provisions.
In meetings with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan, Rep. Don Young, NOAA fisheries, and others, members of both organizations underscored that Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) reauthorization legislation will only strengthen fishing communities if Congress recommits to science-based Annual Catch Limits across all sectors and strengthens other key stewardship provisions within the Act.
“Alaska’s small-boat commercial fishermen are proud to sustainably harvest seafood enjoyed in restaurants and homes across America,” said Linda Behnken of the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA). “The future of Alaska’s fishing communities depends on healthy fish stocks and sustained access by coastal residents to productive commercial fisheries.”
“The MSA is working in Alaska and around the country because all sectors adhere to scientifically-sound annual catch limits. Reauthorization will only provide a bright future for our nation’s young fishermen if all sectors—commercial and recreational—recommit to sustainable harvest through improved stock assessment, better catch accounting, and strict adherence to annual catch limits,” continued Behnken.
“Eliminating accountability for recreational catch will lead to over harvest and reductions in quotas that hurt all fishermen,” said Shannon Carroll, Deputy Director of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council (AMCC). “To secure our fishing future, it is critical that Congress clearly apply accountability standards, including annual catch limits, to all sectors.”
ALFA and AMCC representatives also thanked the Alaska congressional delegation for its leadership on the Young Fishermen’s Development Act, and urged them to ensure the bipartisan initiative to support the next generation of commercial fishermen is signed into law.
Both ALFA and AMCC are engaged in efforts to address the “graying of the fleet” in Alaska by attracting younger entrants into the fishing industry through training and apprenticeship initiatives. The Young Fishermen’s Development Act would give fishing communities a needed boost at the national level by addressing steep and growing obstacles – including high cost of entry and limited entry-level opportunities – facing the next generation of America’s commercial fishermen.