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Herron Commends Governor's Proposal on A-Y-K Salmon Funds

Herron Commends Governor's Proposal on A-Y-K Salmon Funds

Rep. awaits discussion on $1.3 million in ADF&G budgets for troubled fishery

Thursday, December 10, 2009, Bethel, Alaska – House Community & Regional Affairs Committee Co-Chair Bob Herron, D-Bethel, released the following statement today regarding the Governor’s proposal to add $1.3 million to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game’s proposed operating and capital budgets for fiscal year 2011 to improve data-gathering and management of the Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim, or A-Y-K, region:

“Our salmon returns have been in decline for the last two decades, leading to deleterious effects on not only commercial fishing, but also subsistence harvests. Subsistence is the backbone of the local communities and ingrained deeply within our culture. I commend the governor for following through with an increased funding request to better deploy existing data-gathering resources in the area and believe the focus on better management and counting strategy will bring a better level of accountability and consistency to the process. I was also pleased to learn that we’re returning to genetic analysis and mapping to better determine the source-points when making harvest decisionsThis provides an opportunity to thoroughly review the Salmon Sustainability Initiatives that have been ongoing during recent years.

“We constantly hear that we cannot make strides or confront the source of the A-Y-K decline without sound, quality data, and the budget proposals announced today have the potential to lead us to making that next step. This will lead to a complete review of SSI, enabling us to check on the current status of SSI projects and what strategies will be developed to sustain salmon in Western Alaska.

“I look forward to hearings with departmental officials in Juneau during the budgeting process next session, and will continue to monitor the issue and do my best to inform residents as the budget decisions are being made. That effort begins with working closely with Fish & Game Finance Subcommittee Chair Bill Thomas, who’ll direct the House review of the requests before forwarding recommendations to the full Finance Committee and House. In addition, I will communicate with the department, Governor’s Office, and colleagues throughout the session to make sure that, if these requests pass muster and are allocated, we continue the momentum gathered over this past summer and fall.”

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