September 30, 2008
Sustainable Fisheries for Alaska
From a Mark Begich press release
Recognizing that commercial fishing is an economic backbone for Alaska communities and fishing families, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Begich today outlined his fisheries policy that he'll take with him to the Senate.
The policy is designed to support Alaska's commercial fishing industry and increase the economic benefits to Alaska's communities. Begich says the only way for Alaska to continue to have the best managed fisheries in the world is to maintain current federal funding for fishery management and research.
"We need to rely on science-based management for establishing fishing polices," Begich said. "As a U.S. Senator, I'll work to make sure allocation decisions are based on science, but also that they're made in an open and transparent process with full community participation."
In addition to the support continued federal funding, Begich said he will fight to base Alaska related federal fisheries management and ocean research jobs in Alaska to ensure the needs of Alaska fisheries are reflected and to bring federal dollars back to Alaska.
Other components of the Begich fisheries policy include measures to deal with climate change and the impact on fisheries; an energy policy that recognizes the needs of fishing families; and the need for strong infrastructure to support stable fisheries in Alaska .
The items Begich will support as a U.S. Senator include:
Aggressive policies that will help the fishing industry minimize greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining profitability.
Begich will work across party lines to create an Alaska Adaptation Fund as part of national climate change legislation. The Fund will help Alaska communities address the impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion and damage to infrastructure.
Work to establish a comprehensive energy policy that offers short term relief but focuses on long term solutions to help lower energy costs for fishing families, including new tax credits for fishing families facing high energy costs this year. Begich will work to expand refinery capacity to lower gas, diesel and home heating fuel prices and increase investment in renewable biofuels research and development that will work in Alaska's communities.
Begich will fight to help Alaska fishermen protect their much-reduced Exxon payouts from taxation. He was outraged by the U.S. Supreme Court's Exxon ruling and will work with Senator Lisa Murkowski to help fishermen mitigate tax penalties on their payouts.
Begich also recognizes the financial pressure of finding affordable, high quality health care. He believes every Alaskan should have access to the same health care members of Congress receive and supports new funding to ensure it is affordable for every family and small ROS.
Support for bipartisan proposals to establish a National Infrastructure Bank to work with state and local governments on financing packages that could include direct subsidies, direct loan guarantees, and long-term tax-credit bonds. This will help coastal communities develop better transportation networks to get seafood products to market.
Begich will fight for increased funding for the Alaska Marine Highway System. Commit to building a 21st century, fuel-efficient marine highway system that offers comparable access to Alaska's coastal communities as enjoyed by communities along Alaska's land based highway system.
"Strong fisheries are a combination of an open process that includes solid science, a comprehensive energy plan, and investments in infrastructure to support fisheries and fishing families," Begich said.
Additionally, Begich believes more needs to be done to stop Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing and bring it to an end. To that end, Begich will support increased investment in Alaska's ports, the U.S. Coast Guard presence and increased surveillance to combat the increasing rate of IUU fishing in international waters.
He also supports the Community Development Quota (CDQ) program that has generated more than $204 million in wages, education and training benefits for 30,000 residents of 65 Alaska coastal communities. As Senator, Begich will have an open door policy and work with CDQ entities to further their success.
Begich today also announced nearly 50 Alaskans from 17 Alaska communities are showing their support for the Begich campaign by joining "Fishermen for Begich."
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