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Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force Gavels In
(ANCHORAGE) - Members of the newly formed Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force, gaveled in for the first time Monday in Anchorage.
Chaired by Sen. Ben Stevens (R-Anchorage) the first order of business was to develop a clear mission statement out of the broad direction given to them by the Legislature, which approved the task force this past session. The mission statement states:
"The goal of the Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force is to evaluate the State of Alaska's statutory framework for Alaska's wild salmon industry as well as current industry practices and to make recommendations for statutory, regulatory and structural changes that will improve the industry while recognizing Alaska's coastal economy."
To accomplish this mission the task force, which is comprised of a bi-partisan panel of legislators and a diverse group of industry professionals, separated themselves into five sub-committees to address the most pressing issues facing Alaska's salmon industry.
"This task force was formed out of concern by myself and others who recognized this industry is in crisis, and we are in jeopardy of losing jobs around the state," said Sen. Alan Austerman (R-Kodiak) who was the prime sponsor of the legislation creating the task force. "I think these sub-committees cover the full-range of issues facing this industry."
The five areas that will be addressed by sub-committee include: Marketing; Quality Issues; Production Methods; Governance Committee, which will address issues such as habitat, conservation and education concerns; and a Finance Sub-Committee to address the issues of banking and commercial lending.
"I am really excited by the composition of this group and their knowledge of the impacts this issue has on the state. We are all ready to roll-up or sleeves and get to work," said task force member Sue Asplund, who is the executive director of the Cordova District Fishermen United. "I am pleased with the committee structure and while the task force is not designed to address region specific issues we are hopeful that a meaningful process will be developed, by which those issues can be addressed."
The sub-committees will be comprised of nine members, three from the task force and six members from the public at large. Anyone interested in serving on one of the sub-committees should send a letter of interest to the office of Sen. Ben Stevens 716 W. Fourth Ave. Suite 510, Anchorage, AK. 99501 or fax the letter to (907) 269-0204.
The sub-committees are scheduled to meet independently prior to the next task force meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 17 in Anchorage.
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