Fisheries Legislation Included in Appropriations Bill

The US Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill, which contains millions of dollars for sustainable management of Alaska fisheries.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said the package continued several items for which she supported robust funding, including $164.7 million for data collection, surveys and assessments, and $35.8 million for regional councils and fisheries commissioners, $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, and $14 million for salmon management activities under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, plus funding for electronic monitoring and reporting and expanding annual stock assessments.

Murkowski also cosponsored an amendment with Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Diane Feinstein of California to fund $150 million in recent West Coast fishery disasters.

While the amendment was withdrawn without a vote, commitments were made by the committee to continue working to fund fishery disasters, Murkowski said.

Also in the appropriations package was $11 million to address ocean acidification issues, and $113.3 million to allow NOAA Fisheries to promote species recovery while enabling sustainable economic activity.