HB 177 Would Help Alaska Respond to Economically and Ecologically Harmful Invasive Species
Juneau – Yesterday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed House Bill 177, legislation introduced by Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) to help the State respond to aquatic invasive species. Invasive plant and fish species are a threat to local ecosystems, commercially important endemic species (like salmon), and accessibility.
“Alaskans have already invested more than $5 million to combat invasive aquatic plants and fish on the Kenai Peninsula alone,” said Rep. Tarr “There is still time to eradicate invasive species like Elodea and Pike. Millions spent today can save hundreds of millions in the future.”
HB 177 helps the fight against invasive species by increasing the flexibility and tools available to the Department of Fish and Game to combat the outbreak directly, as well as by supporting education and outreach to reduce the rate at which invasive species are introduced in Alaska.
“Preventing invasive aquatic and marine species from establishing populations in Alaska can prevent extreme problems for our fisheries and ecosystems,” said Rep. Paul Seaton (R-Homer) “This bill provides a major step forward for cooperation and early prevention in Alaska waters.”
“This is an important tool to protect Alaska’s valuable commercial and sport fish industries,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan) “As fishing is the largest employer in the State of Alaska, there is a lot at stake.”
House Bill 177 passed the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 33-5. The bill will now be sent to the Alaska Senate for consideration.
For more information, please contact Diana Rhoades in Rep. Tarr’s office at (907) 465-3424.