Rep. LeBon: 'This bill will help ensure that the future maintenance needs at hatchery facilities around the state continue to be supported'
JUNEAU – The House of Representatives today passed a bill that allows the Department of Fish and Game to collect funds that are vital to the successful operation of Alaska’s sportfish hatcheries and facilities.
House Bill 80 passed 32-4 and was originally introduced by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration. The measure would allow the State of Alaska to resume collection of a surcharge on sportfishing licenses. An estimated half a million dollars would be raised annually, with the funds collected going toward the enhancement and maintenance of sportfishing facilities.
“Alaska is home to world-class natural resources, including many places that attract sportfishers from across the state and around the globe,” said Rep. Bart LeBon (R-Fairbanks), who carried HB 80 on the House floor. “This bill will help ensure that the future maintenance needs at hatchery facilities around the state continue to be supported and will promote habitat restoration, sport fisheries management and research, and invasive species management.”
Speaker Louise Stutes (R-Kodiak) added, “Alaskans who enjoy and rely on sportfishing deserve credit for finding a solution to help protect salmon enhancement programs, an idea that found support across the political spectrum.”
“House Bill 80 addresses the critical need for legislative action so that salmon enhancement programs will continue in Southeast Alaska, with the primary goal of helping reverse the alarming trend of reduced Chinook salmon numbers,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan).
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.