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28th Legislature(2013-2014)

Bill Text 28th Legislature


00 Enrolled SR 5                                                                                                           
01 Requesting that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council take action to reduce the                                  
02 quantity of Chinook salmon bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea trawl fisheries by                              
03 setting new limits in the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries and lowering the existing limits in the                        
04 Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea pollock fisheries to at least half of the current limits; and                             
05 requesting that the North Pacific Fishery Management Council require that participants in                               
06 those trawl fisheries take part in the SeaShare program and encourage that edible bycatch                               
07 from the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea fisheries be provided to Alaska residents.                                       
08                                          _______________                                                                
09 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE:                                                                                         
10      WHEREAS the Chinook salmon, the official state fish, is of critical importance to the                            
11 state, providing significant income to the state and its residents through commercial and                               
12 charter fisheries, and providing a critical source of food taken in recreational and subsistence                        
13 fisheries; and                                                                                                          
14      WHEREAS the Chinook salmon is a cultural icon for both Native and non-Native                                     
01 Alaskans; and                                                                                                         
02      WHEREAS, in 2012, Chinook salmon runs were dramatically low, and disaster                                        
03 declarations were made for Upper Cook Inlet and the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers; and                                     
04      WHEREAS, in 2012, economic losses to the state for commercial and recreational                                   
05 fisheries were over $34,000,000, not including significant effects on subsistence users and on                          
06 the cultural and spiritual values of Alaskans; and                                                                      
07      WHEREAS, in 2012, setnet fisheries in Upper Cook Inlet were almost entirely shut                               
08 down for fear of intercepting hundreds of Chinook salmon; and                                                           
09      WHEREAS, in 2012, recreational fisheries for Chinook salmon on the Kenai River                                   
10 were completely shut down; and                                                                                          
11      WHEREAS, in 2012, subsistence fisheries in the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers were                                   
12 under severe restrictions, and, despite those restrictions, many escapement goals were not                              
13 met; and                                                                                                                
14      WHEREAS Chinook salmon stocks from Alaska are caught and discarded in the                                        
15 Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska pollock fisheries and other trawl fisheries in the Gulf of                                
16 Alaska; and                                                                                                             
17      WHEREAS Chinook salmon bycatch is a direct and controllable source of mortality                                  
18 for extremely valuable and declining salmon runs throughout the state; and                                              
19      WHEREAS nets containing salmon-excluding devices are available, and new                                          
20 concepts and designs to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch are becoming available; and                                       
21      WHEREAS the Chinook salmon bycatch cap in the Bering Sea pollock fishery is set                                  
22 at 60,000, which is more than the entire subsistence fishery on the Yukon River; and                                    
23      WHEREAS the Senate acknowledges and appreciates the work done by the trawl                                       
24 industry and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to reduce bycatch and recognizes                              
25 that the trawl industry and the council are working to further reduce bycatch; and                                      
26      WHEREAS SeaShare is a nonprofit organization that partners with the nation's food                                
27 bank network to use edible bycatch as a source of nutrition and means of alleviating hunger;                            
28 and                                                                                                                   
29      WHEREAS the Chinook salmon bycatch cap in the Gulf of Alaska pollock fishery is                                  
30 set at 25,000, which is more than the 10-year average bycatch in the fishery; and                                       
31      WHEREAS the Gulf of Alaska bycatch allowance represented 20 percent of the 2011                                  
01 Cook Inlet, Prince William Sound, Kodiak, Chignik, and Alaska Peninsula sport, subsistence,                             
02 and commercial Chinook salmon harvest and will likely represent a greater percentage of the                             
03 harvest; and                                                                                                            
04      WHEREAS the other Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, other than the pollock fishery,                                
05 currently operate without any bycatch limits; and                                                                       
06      WHEREAS the North Pacific Fishery Management Council is considering a cap on                                     
07 Gulf of Alaska fisheries, other than the pollock fishery, and is initiating a catch share program                       
08 for the Central Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries, which could lead to the adoption of regulations                         
09 that would further reduce bycatch;                                                                                      
10      BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate requests that the North Pacific Fishery                                           
11 Management Council take action to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska and                               
12 Bering Sea trawl fisheries by setting new limits in the Gulf of Alaska trawl fisheries and                              
13 lowering existing limits in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska pollock fisheries to at least half                        
14 of the current limits and to further reduce bycatch in any Gulf of Alaska catch share program;                          
15 and be it                                                                                                               
16      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate requests that the North Pacific Fishery                                         
17 Management Council require 100 percent observer coverage in all Gulf of Alaska trawl                                    
18 fisheries to provide accurate estimates of bycatch; and be it                                                           
19      FURTHER RESOLVED that the Senate requests that the North Pacific Fishery                                         
20 Management Council require that participants in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea trawl                                 
21 fisheries take part in the SeaShare program and encourage that edible bycatch from these                                
22 fisheries be provided to Alaska residents.                                                                            
23      COPIES of this resolution shall be sent to the Honorable Sean Parnell, Governor of                               
24 Alaska; and all members of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council.                                                
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