We’re a third of the way through this year’s 90-day Alaska legislative session, and lawmakers are nibbling on a few fish-related items.
Here’s some bits and pieces:
• From noon to 1 p.m. tomorrow, the Fish Caucus will hear a presentation from Wanetta Ayers on the Community Development Quota program, a federal initiative that reserves a share of the lucrative Bering Sea fish and crab harvests for the benefit of Western Alaska villages.
You can catch the presentation live or later on Gavel to Gavel.
And if you want to join the discussion, contact your local Legislative Information Office.
• Rep. Craig Johnson, chairman of the Cook Inlet Salmon Task Force, has introduced a resolution to extend the 10-member legislative panel’s work until March 31, 2010.
Johnson says the panel needs more time to formulate recommendations on how to tame such problems as allocation fights and low salmon returns to the Inlet’s upper reaches.
The House Resources Committee was supposed to hold a hearing on the resolution this afternoon, but the hearing was postponed.
• Looks like Rep. Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham has lots of support for his House Bill 20, which would make low-interest state loans available to Alaska resident commercial fishermen for “improving energy efficiency” on vessels.
State officials estimate demand for such loans could exceed $4 million in the coming year if the bill passes.
Edgmon says fishermen are eager to repower their boats with clean-burning diesel engines or install fuel-saving features such as bulbous bows.
Organizations writing letters in support of HB 20 include the Alaska Conservation Alliance, the Southwest Alaska Municipal Conference, the Pacific Seafood Processors Association, United Fishermen of Alaska, the Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance, the Resource Development Council for Alaska and the city of Sand Point.
A number of fishermen also have written, of course. Here’s one letter.