Press Release: UFA Endorses Alaska Salmon Hatchery Program (November 4, 2010)

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Resolutions Call on State / Industry Leaders to Continue Hatchery Partnership

JUNEAU, AK – Two resolutions passed by United Fishermen of Alaska [UFA] call for the fishing industry and state leaders to continue working together to further Alaska’s salmon hatchery program and to support funding for deferred maintenance projects at the 11 state-owned salmon hatcheries.

At a meeting September 30, the UFA Board of Directors passed both resolutions in recognition of the sustainable economic development provided by the state-owned hatcheries and their importance to the common fishery – commercial, sport and subsistence fisheries – and the regional economies of Southcentral and Southeast Alaska. According to UFA President Arni Thomson, the group supports the salmon hatchery program because it is a model partnership between private and public entities and
supports unbiased and scientific methods in managing the hatchery program. The second resolution was passed in support of funding for deferred maintenance projects at the state-owned hatcheries throughout Alaska.

The show of support from UFA for the hatchery program comes just two weeks after a new economic study found that Alaska’s salmon enhancement program in Prince William Sound contributes significantly to the regional economy. The study, done by The McDowell Group for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation [PWSAC], found that in 2010, PWSAC salmon accounted for 30 percent of the statewide salmon harvest, 2,750 jobs, $67 million in labor income for more than 30 regional economies, $1.8 million in fisheries business tax revenues to the state and nearly another $1 million in revenue to other local government treasuries. A June 2010 McDowell Group report about the hatcheries in Southeast shows similar economic benefits to common property fisheries and coastal communities.

“These supportive resolutions highlight the success of the State’s salmon enhancement program and the responsible use of Alaska’s renewable and sustainable natural resource,” said Dave Reggiani, PWSAC general manager.

The Alaska Department of Fish & Game Division of Fisheries Rehabilitation, Enhancement and Development was formed in the early 1970s to develop policies, regulations and hatchery practices, and was charged with rebuilding salmon stocks, utilizing hatchery technology applied to wild stocks that are released and grown in the North Pacific ocean for the benefit of Alaskan commercial, sport, personal use and subsistence fishermen. According to a May 2010 letter from Alaska Governor Sean
Parnell to NOAA aquaculture representatives, Alaska allows carefully controlled and regulated salmon enhancement projects in its waters, but imposes strict regulations, including use of local brood stock; requiring marking/tagging of hatchery fish; studies on hatchery / wild interactions, protection of wild stock genetics, prevention of invasive species introductions; and a preference for preservation of wild stocks in all fisheries management decisions.

United Fishermen of Alaska represents 38 Alaska commercial fishing associations throughout Alaska and works to promote and protect the common interest of Alaska’s commercial fishing industry. UFA supports the development of new fisheries, the education of the industry, government officials and the public, the increased consumption of Alaska seafood and the promotion of quality standards and industry safety.