Issues

Fisheries

The fishing industry isn’t just important to Alaska’s economy – it’s personally important to me. I started fishing these waters commercially at the age of 14, and my kids have all commercially fished to help pay for their education. My mother, Shari, was the founding Director of the United Fishermen of Alaska. I know how important fishing and protecting our oceans and waterways are for our economy, for our working people, and for our way of life. As your congressman, you can count on me to fight for Alaska’s fishermen and women and to fight to keep Alaska’s waters clean and productive.

I am deeply concerned about the issue of Alaskan trawl bycatch. When elected I will work to impose stricter limits on bycatch in trawl fisheries. Read my full position statement on trawl bycatch and other threats to fishery sustainability here.

I remain unequivocally opposed to the Pebble Mine. As I have said over and over again, Pebble is the wrong mine in the wrong place. We must do everything we can to support Bristol Bay fisheries.

I will always work to support Alaska fishermen and women financially with loans, refinancing, start up support, unemployment insurance and for federal fisheries disaster assistance when needed.

The collapse of the Yukon Kuskokwim king and chum stocks is an unmitigated disaster. I will work for robust federal funding to conduct marine research on fish populations, overfishing, species preservation, climate change, fisheries, and ecosystem sustainability, and to advance scientific research on ocean issues.  And, I will oppose any cuts that threaten ocean science investment.

Alaska faces a commercial threat from Russian attempts to expand their fishing zones in the Bering Sea. Russian over-crabbing is particularly egregious: Data suggest that illegal crabbing from Russian boats is greater than the entire legal trade in the United States. I will be your congressman who will go to Washington to represent Alaska’s interests and push back on the challenge of Russian aggression. And we must permanently stop importing illegally caught Russian crab which has been flooding our markets.

We should utilize all parts of our fish. As Laine Welch says, “Nearly all other protein industries around the world use animals “from the rooter to the tooter.” But in Alaska, the fish skins, heads, organs, shells and undervalued species like sculpin or Arrowtooth flounder are mostly discarded or ground up and dumped. These byproducts could provide a steady Alaska revenue stream of hundreds of millions of dollars.” Especially now with a worldwide fertilizer shortage due to the war in Ukraine, Alaska has the opportunity to develop an important byproduct industry.

Commercial fishing was Alaska’s first industry and it drove the push to statehood in 1959. As Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens often said: Long after the last drop of oil is taken from our lands, our fisheries will sustain us.