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House Passes Fix to Comm Fish "Dude" Licenses (HB143/Seaton)

House abides Seaton bill to close temporary crew license loophole

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill by Rep. Paul Seaton to fix a loophole in state law relating to temporary commercial fishing crew “dude” licenses. House Bill 143 will limit crew to purchasing a single temporary license per year, instead of buying numerous temporary licenses.

“The goal is to stop losing the revenue from the real year-long crew licenses, which is a loophole being exploited,” Seaton, R-Homer, said. “The ‘dude’ licenses were intended to provide tourists with the opportunity to try commercial fishing to help expand our tourism market. Certain short term fisheries like Bristol Bay, however, see some people buying consecutive temporary licenses instead of the annual license.”

Seaton said there has been an increase in the number of 7-day licenses sold since the program began in 2005, with 47 purchased the first year, and 1344 purchased in 2012. The estimated lost revenue to the state is more than $285,000. “Dude” licenses cost only $30 and last for seven days. HB143 keeps that level, but limits buyers to one license per year, allowing a buyer to apply for reimbursement should they later purchase an annual license.

HB 143, which passed by a vote of 38-0, now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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