The legislation would benefit more than 13,000 individuals in all 50 states who hold Alaska commercial entry permits, about 75 percent of whom are Alaska residents.
This is the fourth attempt to get such a measure passed. Similar legislation was introduced in Congress in 2006, 2008 and 2011, but died in committee.
“Taking away fishermen’s permits and right to fish is not only illogical, but it cuts off their livelihood,” said Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska. “Fishing is the backbone of Alaska’s Economy and this bill protects our fishermen and keeps them working on the water so they can earn a living.”
“This is a very critical issue,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. “We need to understand that by taking away the one ability for these fishermen to earn an income and making right with their creditors is not the right solution.”
“Debts cannot be paid off if there are no earnings, so this legislation is a win-win for all parties involved,” said Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska.