UFA Welcomes At-Large Board Members and Executive Committee

United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA) is pleased to announce the re-election of Bruce Schactler and the election of Tyson Fick, Melanie Brown, and Cynthia Wallesz to the UFA board of directors as at-large members. Read More…Read More…

UFA Job Posting: Office Manager

See more details. More Information

Updated Commercial Fishing Facts

 

As Alaska’s largest private‐sector employer, commercial fishing is a major contributor to employment and wages.  Read More

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Recent News

UFA Legislative Update: May 21, 2019

    Dear UFA Members and Friends,

    In this issue:

    • 31st Legislature Recap
    • UFA Hires Former ADF&G Commercial Fisheries Director
    • Lawsuit Against Bristol Bay RSDA Dismissed
    • Derelict Vessel Bill Update
    • Pebble Mine EIS Comment Period Extended
    • **Legislative Happenings from this Week**
    • **Legislative Meetings of Interest for Next Week**
    • How to Testify, Watch, or Listen to a Hearing
    • Bills Related for Fisheries, and other Bills of Interest to Fishermen

    31st Legislature Recap
    The 31st Legislature gaveled out on Wednesday May 15 and convened to Special Sessionthe following morning. The PFD and the budget were the major issues this year for the legislature, making it difficult to get many bills passed. 

    Bills: Out of the 12 bills UFA tracked, only one bill made it out of the House and Senate and is waiting transmittal to the Governor.  That bill is SB 61  – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims.  None of the bills we are tracking were included in the Governor’s proclamation for Special Session, so they will not be making any movement at this time.  Bills that were left in committees may resurface next session.

    Budget: The Conference Committee took up the Fish & Game budget on May 11. They agreed to the House add of $997k General Funds for commercial fisheries. However, they did make a small decrement to the travel line of the Division of Commercial Fisheries budget. Yet to be voted on is the 50% travel decrement related to Board Support and Advisory Committees. There are still a few items open related to the division directors for Habitat and Subsistence Research and the associated funding and intent language/structure changes related to these divisions.

    Board of Fisheries: Gerad Godfrey, Marit Carlson-Van Dort, and Israel Payton were all appointed to the Board of Fisheries.  An effort launched by UFA and backed by many UFA member groups and commercial fishermen around the state were successful in stopping former BOF chair Karl Johnstone from getting appointed back to the board.  The Governor has not yet appointed someone to the vacant BOF seat.

    UFA Hires Former ADF&G Commercial Fisheries Director
    UFA is pleased to announce the hiring of Scott Kelley as its Executive Administrator effective June, 2019.Mr. Kelley, a Juneau resident, brings vast experience in commercial fisheries as the former Director of Commercial Fisheries for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Scott’s immense knowledge of commercial fisheries in Alaska is well-respected and his relationship with commercial fishermen is extremely valuable.We are very lucky to have him join our organization!Mr. Kelley will be replacing retiring UFA employee Mark Vinsel who has dedicated 18 years to UFA.

    Lawsuit Against Bristol Bay RSDA Dismissed
    On April 1, 2019, six Bristol Bay fishermen filed a lawsuit financed by the Pebble Limited Partnership against the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association (BBRSDA) alleging it was spending funds outside of its statutory purposes. Today, Alaska Superior Court Judge Yvonne Lamoureux dismissed the case against BBRSDA and the other named defendants who received funding from BBRSDA. Judge Lamoureux agreed with BBRSDA that it was acting within its statutory purpose of promoting the Bristol Bay fishery in opposing the Pebble Mine, which could have a devastating effect on the commercial fishery it seeks to support and enhance. Continue Reading…

    Derelict Vessel Bill Update
    Last year, SB 92 – Vessels: Registration/Titles; Derelicts was adopted and put into law.  The UFA office has fielded a few questions regarding what this means for commercial fishing vessels and if any new costs or registrations will be required. DMV stated that a boat over 24’ now has to be documented.  If it is already a fully-documented boat with the Coast Guard then they don’t have to apply for a title. If it is not documented with the Coast Guard then they have to Title it with DMV. This cost $20.00. The money raised from those titles goes to DMV processing fees and the rest goes to helping deal with derelict vessels.

    Pebble Mine EIS Comment Period Extended

    The Pebble Mine EIS Comment Period was extended to July 1, 2019.  Save Bristol Bayhas an online template for commenting which may be accessed here.  Alternatively, you may send comments directly to the Army Corps of Engineers Pebble Project EIS website.

    -Frances Leach, Executive Director


    Legislation – Happenings from this week on fishery related bills we are tracking. 

    None.


    Legislative Meetings of interest
     

    None.

    Please feel free to track bills in The Bill Tracking Management Facility (BTMF).


    To testify, watch or listen in to a hearing …
    To testify it’s best to go to a Legislative Information office – see them online at http://akleg.gov/lios.php . If you can’t get to an LIO you can call in to listen in or testify through the following numbers – call & ask for the specific committee hearing:

    • From Anchorage based phones call 907-563-9085;
    • From Juneau based phones or outside Alaska call 907-586-9085;
    • From other areas of Alaska, call toll-free 844-586-9085…and ask for the specific hearing.

    To watch hearings online go to legislative home page at http://w3.akleg.gov/  at the time of the hearing, and click on the “Live Now” tab, and then select the meeting.

    To watch floor sessions and other hearings see Gavel to Gavel archives.

    To find your legislators and contact info see http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/  – see “WHO REPRESENTS ME?” in the lower right corner of the page.


    Bills related to fisheries that we are tracking, and others that may be of interest to fishermen.

    SB 22  – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Stevens- Senate Finance- UFA Supports) Referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 51  – Natl. Res. Water Nomination/Designation (Senate Resources) Currently in Senate Resources with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 61  – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims (Stevens – UFA Supports) Passed the Senate and the House and currently awaiting transmittal to Governor.
    SB 63  – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (Senate Rules by Request of the Governor- UFA Opposes) Currently in Senate Community and Regional Affairs with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 90  – Cook Inlet: New Admin Area; Permit Buyback (Micciche) Currently in Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 99 – Personal Use Fishing Priority (Kawasaki- UFA Opposes).  Referred to Senate Resources with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    HB 35 – Conflict of Interest: Board Fisheries/Game (Stutes – UFA Supports) Referred to Senate State Affairs with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    HB 41 – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Ortiz – UFA Supports) Passed the House, referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    HB 65 – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (House Rules by Request of the Governor – UFA Opposes) Currently in House Fisheries with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    HB 105 – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims.  (Ortiz- UFA Supports) Currently in House Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    HB 116 – Aquatic Farm/Hatchery Site Leases. (Story). Currently in House Rules with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    HR 8 – 2019 International Year of the Salmon Resolution. Currently in House Rules with no scheduled hearings at this time.

    Please support our business members – see links on our website
    To join UFA see http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/


    This update is made possible by the support of our Group, Business, Individual and Crew members.
    To join UFA see http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/


    Press Release: United Fishermen of Alaska Announces Selection of Scott Kelley as Executive Administrator

      For Immediate Release

      Contact: Frances Leach, Executive Director
      Office (907)586-2820

      United Fishermen of Alaska Announces Selection of Scott Kelley as Executive Administrator

      United Fishermen of Alaska (UFA), Alaska’s statewide commercial fishing trade association, is pleased to announce the hiring of Scott Kelley as its Executive Administrator effective June, Mr. Kelley, a Juneau resident, brings vast experience in commercial fisheries as the former Director of Commercial Fisheries for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

      “Scott’s immense knowledge of commercial fisheries in Alaska is well-respected and his relationship with commercial fishermen is extremely valuable. We are very lucky to have him join our organization,” said UFA Executive Director Frances Leach.

      Mr. Kelley is replacing retiring UFA employee Mark Vinsel who has worked for UFA for 18 years in several capacities, including Executive Director.

      UFA is the statewide commercial fishing umbrella association, representing 35 member organizations from fisheries throughout Alaska and its offshore waters.



      UFA Legislative Update: May 10, 2019

        Dear UFA Members and Friends,

        Things are winding down in the legislature and not many bills are moving. 

        In this issue:

        • ADF&G Budget Update
        • Pebble Mine EIS Comment Period Extended
        • Governor Dunleavy Responds to Inquiries Regarding Transboundary Issues
        • **Legislative Happenings from this Week**
        • **Legislative Meetings of Interest for Next Week**
        • How to Testify, Watch, or Listen to a Hearing
        • Bills Related for Fisheries, and other Bills of Interest to Fishermen

        ADF&G Budget Update
        The Department of Fish and Game Budget has not been finalized with the last action taking place in the Senate ADF&G Subcommittee on April 16.  A summary to the April 16 Senate ADF&G Subcommittee may be found in our April 22, 2019 Legislative Update.

        Pebble Mine EIS Comment Period Extended
        The Pebble Mine EIS Comment Period was extended to July 1, 2019.  Save Bristol Bay has an online template for commenting which may be accessed here.  Alternatively, you may send comments directly to the Army Corps of Engineers Pebble Project EIS website.

        Governor Dunleavy Responds to Inquiries Regarding Transboundary Issues
        On May 6, Governor Dunleavy sent a letter to Speaker Edgmon in response to the legislature’s letter urging continued engagement with the Province of British Columbia on the issue of transboundary rivers under the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation (MOU), signed by the previous administration.United Fishermen of Alaska also sent a letter to the Governor in early April inquiring about the status of the MOU.In the letter to the Legislature, Governor Dunleavy stated the MOU is “still in effect and the Governor’s Office continues to take the lead on behalf of the State of Alaska.”Governor Dunleavy continued, “This is important work, my administration recognizes the progress made, and will continue to seek ways to best protect Alaska’s natural resources and environment.”

        United Fishermen of Alaska views this as a good starting point and hopes that the Administration continues to push for financial assurances and adequate engagement in the permitting process.

        -Frances Leach, Executive Director


        Legislation – Happenings from this week on fishery related bills we are tracking. (May 6 – May 10, 2019)

        House Fisheries

        Tuesday, May 7, HB 99 – Nuyakuk River Falls: Hydroelectric Site. Heard & referred to House Resources. Watch Meeting

        House Resources

        House Floor

        • Monday, May 6, HB 41 – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Ortiz – UFA Supports) Passed the House, referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        • Wednesday, May 8, SB 61  – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims (Stevens – UFA Supports) Passed the Senate and the House and currently awaiting transmittal to Governor.

        Legislative Meetings of interest for this weekend and the week of May 13 – May 17, 2019.

        No meetings currently scheduled pertaining to bills we are tracking.

        Please feel free to track bills in The Bill Tracking Management Facility (BTMF).


        To testify, watch or listen in to a hearing …
        To testify it’s best to go to a Legislative Information office – see them online at http://akleg.gov/lios.php . If you can’t get to an LIO you can call in to listen in or testify through the following numbers – call & ask for the specific committee hearing:


        From Anchorage based phones call 907-563-9085;

        From Juneau based phones or outside Alaska call 907-586-9085;

        From other areas of Alaska, call toll-free 844-586-9085…and ask for the specific hearing.

        To watch hearings online go to legislative home page at http://w3.akleg.gov/  at the time of the hearing, and click on the “Live Now” tab, and then select the meeting.

        To watch floor sessions and other hearings see Gavel to Gavel archives.

        To find your legislators and contact info see http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/  – see “WHO REPRESENTS ME?” in the lower right corner of the page.

        **********************************************************************
        Bills related to fisheries that we are tracking, and others that may be of interest to fishermen.

        SB 22  – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Stevens- Senate Finance- UFA Supports) Referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        SB 51  – Natl. Res. Water Nomination/Designation (Senate Resources) Currently in Senate Resources with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        SB 61  – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims (Stevens – UFA Supports) Passed the Senate and the House and currently awaiting transmittal to Governor.
        SB 63  – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (Senate Rules by Request of the Governor- UFA Opposes) Currently in Senate Community and Regional Affairs with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        SB 90  – Cook Inlet: New Admin Area; Permit Buyback (Micciche) Currently in Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        SB 99 – Personal Use Fishing Priority (Kawasaki- UFA Opposes).  Referred to Senate Resources with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        HB 35 – Conflict of Interest: Board Fisheries/Game (Stutes – UFA Supports) Referred to Senate State Affairs with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        HB 41 – Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Ortiz – UFA Supports) Passed the House, referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        HB 65 – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (House Rules by Request of the Governor – UFA Opposes) Currently in House Fisheries with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        HB 105 – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims.  (Ortiz- UFA Supports) Currently in House Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
        HB 116 – Aquatic Farm/Hatchery Site Leases. (Story). Currently in House Resources with hearing scheduled for May 10.
        HR 8 – 2019 International Year of the Salmon Resolution. Currently in House Rules.

        Please support our business members – see links on our website
        To join UFA see http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/

        This update is made possible by the support of our Group, Business, Individual and Crew members.
        To join UFA see http://www.ufafish.org/become-a-member/