Local News

Fisheries group sets legislative priorities

A major commercial fishing organization is pushing for more funding to put seafood on school lunch tables.

The United Fishermen of Alaska’s Board of Directors set that as a priority during its recent meeting in Sitka.

UFA Executive Director Julianne Curry says it’s part of a larger program that sends a variety of Alaska-grown products to schools.

“The overall priority is looking for ways to be able to promote not only Alaska-produced products, but also seafood to Alaskans. Getting seafood into the schools in Alaska is a big priority for a lot of our school districts and we’re looking for any way that we can that supports any program that works,” Curry says.

She says the organization will lobby the Legislature to make funding a regular part of the state budget.

UFA President Jerry McCune says the board will also advocate for continued funding for important state agencies.

“We’re always looking to keep Fish and Game’s budget at least up some or status quo. Because it’s costing more and more and we’re losing a lot of the older folks that know a lot about the department right now,” he says.

UFA is also looking at appropriations for hatcheries and the fight against invasive species.

Curry says it may also propose changes to the state panel fishermen deal with most.

“Something that we are actively seeking to improve is the board of fish process itself and look and see if there are any efficiencies that can be gained. And make sure that we are adequately considering the input from the public and that the meetings are accessible and that we’re really getting the best input that we possibly can,” Curry says.

The United Fishermen of Alaska is an umbrella organization of about 35 commercial fishing and processing groups.

The Legislature begins its 2014 meetings on January 21st. It’s the second year of the 28th legislative session, so bills proposed last year are still in play.

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