Salmon do not do well in 70 degree water. Crab mortality increases when they lose their cold water refuge associated with the sea ice pack. Cod can’t compete and reproduce well in a marine heatwave. Without significant global effort to curb carbon emissions and a serious effort in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska to mitigate bycatch in the trawl fisheries I fear that our fisheries statewide are at dire risk. The Governor recently declared disaster declarations on eight Alaskan fisheries, many if not all of these disaster declarations have been necessitated by the impacts of climate change. Fishermen need to be working with our State and federal delegation in a much more proactive manner on issues related to climate change because the solution is important to our economic survival. As a fisherman and State Representative, I will demand that the Governor work closely with our congressional delegation to support emission reduction policies and funding.
We cannot have business as usual in the trawl fisheries considering the stress already imposed by warming and less predictable ocean conditions. The multi-billion dollar trawl industry is not an insubstantial lobby, so Alaska needs a united front and to apply all of the tools in the toolbox to make changes that will benefit our targeted commercial, sport and subsistence fishing. I support a bycatch fee system that will be imposed on those operations and will consider the ex-vessel value of the wasted resource to Alaskan fishermen. This can potentially be an escalator on the current Fisheries Resource Landing Tax. I support 100% observer monitoring on vessels conducting trawl operations in the western Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea. I support a complete re-working of the process for the Governor to appoint members of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council so that the trawl lobby does not have undue influence in appointments.