UFA Legislative Update: March 8, 2019

    Dear UFA Members and Friends,

    In this issue:

    • FDA Lifts Import Ban on Genetically Engineered Salmon
    • Public Comment Period for Pebble Draft EIS
    • ADFG Notices Regulation to end Fresh Water Logbook Program
    • Sitka Herring Lawsuit Update
    • **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

    FDA Lifts Import Ban on Genetically Engineered Salmon
    On March 8, the FDA announced they are lifting the import ban on Genetically Engineered salmon. Read Senator Lisa Murkowski’s Press Release

    For over a century, Alaska fishermen have prided themselves on sustainably harvesting wild salmon from Alaska’s clear, pristine waters. We are proud of our legacy of providing families across the nation with delicious, healthy salmon, and consumers have come to associate high quality with Alaska wild salmon. For the FDA to lift an import ban on “frankenfish” without requiring clear labeling to show that these products are genetically engineered is a disservice to consumers and a blow to Alaska’s hardworking fishing communities. We strongly support the efforts of our Congressional delegation to ensure that GE salmon is clearly labeled; giving Americans the information they need to make informed decisions about the seafood they purchase to feed their families.

    Public Comment Period for Pebble Draft EIS:
    The public has 83 days left to comment on the Pebble Mine permit application that Pebble submitted to the US Army Corps of Engineers in late 2018.   Despite requests by fishermen, stakeholders, and local residents, along with comments by both of Alaska’s senators that the public comment period for the 1,400 page document is too short and should be extended, they have as of today not granted more time.  UFA adheres this is the wrong mine in the wrong place and encourages members to submit comments here.

    ADFG Notices Regulation to End Fresh Water Logbook Program
    The Alaska Department of Fish and Game noticed a regulation to eliminate the requirement to obtain and complete Freshwater Sport Fish Guide Logbooks for those services and guides operating in fresh waters. You may comment on the proposed regulation changes, by submitting written comments to Shellene L. Hutter, Department of Fish and Game, P.O. Box 115526, Juneau, AK 99811-5526.  Additionally, the Department of Fish and Game will accept comments by facsimile at (907) 465-2604 and by electronic mail at shellene.hutter@alaska.gov. The comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on April 8, 2019. You may find the full regulation here.

    Sitka Herring Lawsuit Update
    The Sitka Tribe of Alaska (STA) is taking their lawsuit against ADF&G and the Board of Fish to the State Supreme Court. This lawsuit alleges that there isn’t a reasonable opportunity to harvest herring roe on branches for subsistence uses due to commercial herring harvest. Article: STA Requests State Supreme Court Reversal on Injunction Denial.


    -Frances Leach, Executive Director


    Legislation – Happenings from this week on fishery related bills we are tracking. (March 4  – March 8)

    House Fish and Game Finance Subcommittee
    The House Fish and Game Finance Subcommittee met on March 5 where they conducted an initial overview of the Fish and Game Budget.  You may watch the meeting here.

    House Fisheries Committee
    The House Fisheries Committee met twice this week.  The meeting on March 5 was a presentation by the Deans of the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks titled “Building Alaska’s Blue Economy – Alaska’s College of Fisheries & Ocean Sciences.” You may watch the meeting here.  The meeting on March 7, was a Confirmation Hearing: Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Designee, Doug Vincent-Lang and introduction of HB 35– Conflict of Interest: Board of Fisheries/Game.  You may watch the meeting here.  HB 35 is scheduled to be taken back up in House Fisheries on March 12.

    Senate Labor and Commerce
    On March 5, Senate Labor and Commerce took up SB 61 – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims.   Testimony was taken and UFA testified in support of this bill. The committee voted to move the bill out of committee where it was referred to Senate Finance. You may watch the meeting here.


    Legislative Meetings of interest for this weekend and the week of March 11 – March 15, 2019.

    Tuesday, March 12 

    House Fish and Game Finance Subcommittee – Gruenberg 120
    10:00 a.m.

    House Fisheries Committee  – Gruenberg 120
    11:00 a.m.

    Wednesday, March 13

    House Resources Committee – Barnes 124
    1:20 p.m.

    • Consideration of Governor’s Appointees- Fishermen’s Fund Advisory. *Public Testimony*.  Visit Meeting Page

    Thursday, March 14

    House Fish and Game Finance Subcommittee – Gruenberg 120
    10:00 a.m.

    House Fisheries Committee – Gruenberg 120
    11:00 a.m.

    House Finance Committee – Adams Room 519
    1:30 p.m.

    Friday, March 15

    Senate Resources – Butrovich 205
    3:30 p.m.

    House Resources Committee – Barnes 124
    1:20 p.m.

    • Consideration of Governor’s Appointees: Commissioner Designee Jason Brune, Department of Environmental Conservation *Public Testimony*.  Visit Meeting Page.

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


    To testify, watch or listen in to a hearing …To testifyit’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 onlinego 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 sessionsand other hearings see Gavel to Gavel archives.

    To find your legislators and contact infosee 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.
    SB 61 – Commercial Fishermen’s Fund: Vessel Owner Claims (Stevens – UFA Supports).  Referred to Senate Finance with no scheduled hearings at this time.
    SB 63  – Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (Senate Rules by Request of the Governor- UFA Opposes)
    HB 35– Conflict Of Interest: Board Fisheries/Game (Stutes – UFA Supports)
    HB 41– Shellfish Enhance. Projects; Hatcheries (Ortiz – UFA Supports)
    HB 65– Fish Tax: Repeal Muni Refunds/Rev. Share (House Rules by Request of the Governor – UFA Opposes)

    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/

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