Omnibus Bill Includes Benefits for Alaska Fisheries

The omnibus bill passed by the US Senate on May 5 to keep the federal government running through September includes components to help sustainably maintain Alaska’s world-class fisheries, says Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

The senator, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, was successful in including a provision that blocks the Food and Drug Administration from introducing genetically engineers salmon into the market until the FDA publishes labeling guidelines so customers know exactly what they are buying.

Murkowski also secured language to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to update the FDA’s seafood list to change the acceptable market name of brown king crab to golden king crab.

The bill also includes millions of dollars in funding for upgrades to the U.S. Coast Guard base at Kodiak, materials for construction of a polar icebreaker, offshore patrol cutters, and fast response cutters.

Also included in the bill for fisheries science, research and management on a national scale is $164 million for fisheries data collection, surveys and assessments; $34.3 million for regional councils and fisheries commissions, $33.5 million for salon management activities, $10.5 million for integrated ocean acidification research, $65 million for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, $12 million to fulfill obligations under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, and $130 million in Saltonstall-Kennedy funds to promote and develop fishery products and research pertaining to American fisheries.

The National Sea Grant College Program was allocated $63 million, hydrographic surveys of the nation’s coastline $27 million, and the National Weather Service $979.8 million.