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Legislature Passes Geoduck Seed Transfer Bill (HB 60)

Seaton’s HB 60 would help coastal communities diversify economic bases

Saturday, April 14, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – A bill promoting economic diversity for our state’s coastal communities and allowing for the economic expansion of our shellfish farming and harvest industry has passed the legislature. House Bill 60, sponsored by House Resources Committee Co-Chair Paul Seaton, R-Homer, allows geoducks to be farmed sub-tidally in the Gulf of Alaska even if wild geoducks are not present.

“HB 60 allows Southeast Alaska’s local stocks to be sent to coastal communities around the state so other areas can benefit from aquatic farming,” Seaton said. “It leaves all of our regulatory and oversight controls in place. The bill also would help to end state subsidy of the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery by expanding their seed-stock sales.”

HB 60 amends state statute by adding language saying “The commissioner (of ADF&G) may not use the absence of wild geoduck stock within a management area… as the reason for denial of an aquatic farm permit…”

Seaton says the clam is prized in some markets and is valued highest among Asian buyers. “We’re all proud of the standing wild, sustainable Alaska seafood has attained across the world, and HB 60 would allow more Alaska businesses the opportunity to capitalize on that and grow our mariculture industry.”

HB 60, which passed the Alaska Senate unanimously, now heads to the governor for signature. It would take effect 90 days after it’s signed into law.

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