Alaska Independent Fishermen’s
P.O. Box 60131
Seattle, WA 98160
Phone/Fax (206) 542-3930
February 19, 2007
Representative Paul Seaton
State Capitol, Rm 102
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Dear Representative Seaton,
Re: AIFMA Supports HB 134—Protection of Spawning Habitat
Bristol Bay is home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run. The Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve was created in 1972 in order to protect this valuable commercial and subsistence fishery in the area from the threat from certain mineral leasing and permitting. HB 134 proposes to extend protections to the Nushagak, Kvichak, Naknek, Egegik and Ugashik ground water, aquifer systems of river drainage systems.
HB 134 would protect Alaska’s greatest salmon fishery by prohibiting the withdrawal, obstruction, diversion, pumping or pollution of surface or subsurface water in any Bristol Bay drainages that support salmon. The legislation also prohibits the destruction of salmon habitat, creates a fining schedule for violating these protections, and protects existing water uses authorized prior to the passage of the bill.
In recent years the salmon industry and the State of Alaska have invested a great deal in Alaska’s Wild Salmon and this investment is beginning to pay dividends throughout the state. Thousands of existing Alaskan jobs depend upon the purity of Bristol Bay’s renewable and sustainable salmon fishery and the integrity of its spawning habitat. These jobs depend on protection of the pristine habitat of the Bristol Bay watershed.
AIFMA is the largest fishermen’s association in Bristol Bay, and has represented the interests of fishermen fishing for salmon in the Bristol Bay region for over 40 years and is a property owner in the region. Many of our members are residents of the Bristol Bay region.
Thanks you for your consideration.