Bill supporting Alaska’s aquaculture sector passes House of Representatives

'By lowering the regulatory burden on our aquatic farmers, we can amplify the good work they're already doing'

JUNEAU – The House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 115 today, a proposal that would remove a layer of bureaucracy from aquatic farmers and reduce administrative overhead.

HB 115 expedites the lease renewal process by making it consistent with other renewal processes for Department of Natural Resources leases, lowering the risk of investment for farmers and reducing the state agency’s workload. The process would be shortened from 200 days to around 90 days, without sacrificing appropriate regulatory oversight and public engagement.

“Alaska’s pristine waters and vast coastline highlight our state’s incredible potential to be a global leader in the aquaculture industry,” added Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau), the bill’s primary sponsor. “I am confident we will continue to find creative ways to encourage investment in our aquatic businesses, and I thank the stakeholders that brought this to my attention.”

“By lowering the regulatory burden on our aquatic farmers, we can amplify the good work they’re already doing and encourage new businesses to open,” said Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka). “This common-sense fix that was worked on with stakeholders from aquatic farmers and from the folks at DNR is a win for everyone involved.”

“Like any enterprise that is getting off the ground, there can be many hurdles for small mariculture businesses,” said Rep. Liz Snyder (D-Anchorage). “This legislation streamlines the process and I look forward to the positive impact it will have on both new and established Alaska local food businesses.

HB 115 passed on a 40-0 vote and will be sent to the Senate for consideration.

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