Alaska’s world-class fisheries are often not treated as the essential natural resource that they are for all residents. At the time of statehood, it was established that Alaska’s resources should be developed and available for maximum use consistent with public interest.
The Alaska Board of Fisheries (BOF) determines how Alaska’s fish are allocated among subsistence, personal-use, commercial and sport fisheries. In rural areas of Alaska, food for residents – subsistence – is the highest priority. However, in more urban areas of Alaska, such as Cook Inlet where most Alaskans reside, there is no such food priority.
Using the BOF current allocation criteria, 98 percent of Alaska’s fish are exported for use by non-Alaskans – just 1 percent is harvested for subsistence in rural areas of the state and the remaining 1 percent is split between the resident-only personal use and sport fisheries for residents and non-residents. Annually, upwards of 6 billion pounds of seafood is exported to feed people elsewhere in the world.
Yet upwards of 15 percent of households in non-subsistence use areas of Alaska like the Kenai Peninsula suffer from hunger and food insecurity. The current allocation method prioritizes fish for people elsewhere in the world over Alaskan households.
KRSA submitted Proposal 171 for consideration to the BOF that prioritizes food for residents as the highest allocation criteria used to apportion fish. Proposal 171 ranks the 7 allocation criteria now used by the BOF and would require as the highest priority the importance of each fishery for providing residents the opportunity to harvest fish for personal and family consumption.
Will you help make putting food on the tables of Alaskans one of the factors considered by the BOF when setting fishery allocations? Please fill out the form below to send a message of support for Proposal 171 to the BOF.