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United Fishermen of Alaska and Cordova District Fishermen United do not support gutting protections for salmon habitat. I take the Governor at his word when he assured Alaskans their fisheries resources will continue to receive the protections they need. What are the assurances that fish streams will be protected? Last time I looked, all of the laws on buffer zones under the Forest Practices Act were still in place. UFA and the timber industry worked hard together to gain these protections We also have federal laws in place that provide protections. Even though permitting functions are being put into DNR in order to streamline the permitting process, Fish and Game will still do the research, and laws will still have to be complied with. We have a new governor who is trying new ideas and we should give him a chance to make a positive difference to stimulate economic development and not simply assume the sky is falling.
Alaskans need to keep in mind that the jobs in the mining, oil and/or the logging industries are important. Those jobs are just as important to their families as your fishing job is to yours. UFA is committed to working with all the resource industries of Alaska while it strives to address the needs specific to the fishing industry. We may not all agree on every issue, but communication is important, not only between those within each industry, but between all of our interrelated resource industries. It is also important to recognize that barriers to economic productivity likely exist in all resource industries, and that the seafood industry is seeking solutions to its barriers. We must allow other industries the same opportunity that we are seeking if they can be accommodated without negative impacts to ours.
Gov. Murkowski is committed to working with seafood communities, as well as other industries in our state, and feels some changes to jump start economic development are needed. Let's give him a chance before we judge him so harshly.
Jerry McCune, President
Cordova District Fishermen United