Thursday, June 08, 2006

SEAS Endorses Murkowski for Governor

For Immediate Release: SEAS Contact # is (907)723-8267.

Today, June 8th, at noon Alaska time, the Southeast Alaska Seiners Association (SEAS) voted to endorse Frank Murkowski for Governor.

SEAS has been at the center of the economic rebuilding of what was the beleaguered commercial salmon industry at the beginning of Governor Murkowski’s tenure in 2002. Our local fleet had lost nearly half of their jobs, numbering 1200. Global market competition from farmed salmon and Russian wild salmon began eating Alaska’s lunch by the mid-1990’s. But there seemed to be a lack of strategic vision in state leadership at the time.

Then 22 year United States Senator Frank H. Murkowski moved back to Alaska to provide that strategic vision that the salmon fishermen direly needed.
This administration has really rolled up their sleeves in Commerce, Labor and ADFG to address the long- term economic concerns and needs of the Alaska salmon fishing community”, reported Mitch Eide {Mr. Eide is a SEAS board member, 3rd generation Petersburg fisherman and recent Murkowski appointee to the Pacific Salmon Commission.}

{{SEAS is a group of 135 Southeast Alaska purse seiners representing approximately 1100 direct jobs, from Craig, Klawock, Kake, Wrangell, Sitka, Ketchikan, Hoonah, Juneau, Petersburg, Homer, Kodiak, Cordova, and even a handful from Anchorage. SE salmon seiners harvest between 200 and 300 million pounds of salmon annually worth approximately $100-150 million wholesale. We see our mission as one that allows users of sustainable seafood resources to gain the fruits of the continually necessary steps of conservation, seed and growth, thus ensuring the livelihoods for those who work in our industry both on our boats and also on land in our coastal Alaskan communities. It is estimated that for every job fishing it takes 3-4 people cutting, packaging, shipping and selling our salmon so our industry, so the direct and indirect jobs involved in our specific fishery are approximately 4000, with the vast majority of these jobs occurring in Alaska.}}

The Murkowski administration has worked on a multi-front agenda to help the commercial fishing industry to regain profitability for the little guy. The fruits of this aggressive campaign, led by the Murkowski Fish Cabinet, have been bearing out to the small boat fisherman. Southeast gillnet and troll fleets have seen dramatically higher prices over the past 3 ½ years. Longtime SEAS member and Juneau resident as well as UFA Marketing Co-Chair, Scott McAllister, had the following to say about the administration: “And although we recognize that we seiners have been the last to the money table with our pink salmon prices lagging at the ex-vessel level, we are extremely cognizant of our good fortune at having Governor Murkowski crack new pavement by leading the way in new USDA food aid programs to new and developing countries. And Murkowski’s administration accomplished this all the while maintaining a market presence in our normal markets to eat up a pack of salmon in 2005 that would have killed the pink salmon market with anyone else at the helm.”

On the environmental front, the administration has not allowed one stone, rock or tree to impede a single spawning salmon from the policy changes that occurred, in spite of all the hoopla over mixing zones and the habitat division move to DNR from ADFG. Not one single fish lost due to this administrations’ environmental actions. “There needs to be a balance between the users of Alaska’s natural resources and the Murkowski administration has a 95% grade in my book, and that’s an A folks” concluded Mr. Bruce Wallace, Ketchikan resident, one of SEAS founders and current UFA Environmental Chairman.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:56 PM

    The Governor changed my life. Made me move to Alaska because I could sense the hope and economic prosperity that he and his administration would bring to the state.