House passes resolution to defend Alaska’s right to manage Our Fisheries

The Alaska state legislature has taken an important step to protect the state’s fisheries and support the trolling industry, passing House Joint Resolution 5 with unanimous support from both the majority and minority caucuses. The resolution urges the United States Secretary of Commerce and other state and federal agencies to defend Alaska’s fisheries, which are critical to the region’s economy and support a wide variety of fishing industry-related jobs.

Representative Rebecca Himshoot, the Resolution’s sponsor, made a compelling case for the importance of the trolling industry, which generates up to $85 million in annual revenue in Southeast Alaska alone.

Chair of House Special Committee of Fisheries and co-sponsor Sarah Vance (R) Homer emphasized the importance of the Resolution on the floor before the vote was cast, stating, “We as a legislature must defend the states resources and the Alaskan way of life.”

The Resolution is a direct response to a lawsuit filed by the Wild Fish Conservancy against the US Secretary of Commerce, which claims that trolling in Southeast Alaska is contributing to the extinction of southern resident orca whales. However, numerous studies have shown that industrial activities in Puget Sound are those harming the orca population. In contrast, Alaska’s orca population is thriving.

Representative Mike Cronk (R) Tok, echoed the views of his district as well as the House in his brief remarks, labeling the actions from the Wild Fish Conservancy “…yet another attack from those outside of Alaska, and we must support this industry.”

By passing HJR 5, the Alaska State Legislature is sending a strong message that it is committed to protecting the state’s fisheries and supporting the trolling industry. It is important that state and federal agencies heed this call to action and work to defend these vital resources, which are crucial to the region’s economy and way of life. With the Senate now set to consider the Resolution, we hope that it will receive the same unanimous support and lead to action in backing Alaska’s fisheries and protect the trolling industry.

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