"This option allows Alaska fishermen to work together."
(JUNEAU) - The Alaska House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill 118 by a vote of 37 to zero on Wednesday. Sponsored by Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) on recommendation by the Joint Legislative Salmon Industry Task Force, HB 118 allows commercial fishermen to hire their own tender or pool their resources on one boat to transport fish to market. Currently, only licensed processors or contractors for licensed processors can transport fish for fishermen. Seaton says the bill will not only save money, but it will provide an option not available in some parts of the state.
"Some remote operators have no processors available in their area," Seaton said. "Their only option is the costly task of taking their own catch all the way to market, which costs a great deal of time and money."
HB 118 will require the person transporting the fish to have a transporter permit in addition to the currently required fish ticket. This arrangement allows a fisherman to retain ownership of the fish while authorizing an associate or another vessel to transport and sell the fish. Seaton says this move to streamline commercial fishing in Alaska will help fishermen reach new, untapped markets and remain competitive at the same time.
"This option allows Alaska fishermen to work together," Seaton said. "As a colleague takes the time to find the best price for the fish he's carrying, the rest are reaching to new areas to increase the catch."