Alaska Legislature Considers Several Fisheries Bills

The Alaska Legislature, now in session in Juneau, has fisheries related bills on its agenda, related to changes in fees for non-resident one-week crewmember licenses, commercial loans, and product development tax credits.

The House Finance Committee last week held discussion on HB 143, a bill increasing the fees for non-resident one-week crewmember licenses from $30 to $60. HB 143 was introduced last March, and sponsored by Representatives Paul Seaton, R-Homer; Jonathan Kreiss, D-Sitka; and Peggy Wilson, R-Wrangell.

HB 177, promoting commercial fishing loan programs within the Division of Economic Development, also introduced last year, was heard by the House Fisheries Committee this past week.

Rep. Bryce Edgmon, a Democrat from Dillingham, said the bill would restore the division’s authority to offer product quality improvement and engine fuel efficiency loans at interest rates that motivate fishers to make these profitable investments in their businesses.

Edgmon said in a newsletter to constituents that the state Department of Commerce advised the Fisheries Committee that these loan programs are central to “public policy objectives established by the Legislature to improve Alaska’s seafood quality, price, and competitiveness in the world marketplace.”

Also before the House Fisheries Committee is HB 204, an act relating to a product development tax credit for certain salmon and herring products, by Edgmon and Kodiak Republican Alan Austerman.

The bill would allow taxpayers in the fisheries business to claim salmon product development tax credit of 50 percent of qualified investment in new property first placed into service in a shore-based plant or on a vessel in the state in the tax year.

Updates on these and other bills before the Legislature are at