JUNEAU - The Alaska State House unanimously passed House Bill 344 Wednesday, extending the Salmon Product Development Tax Credit through 2015.
House Finance Committee Vice-Chair Bill Thomas, R-Haines, sponsored the bill. He said the tax credit has done what was intended by spurring Alaskan salmon marketability and improving quality.
"Alaska salmon is considered the best in the world today and I'd like to believe this credit is one of the reasons why," he said.
Extending the credit four years will allow the industry to continue the progress being made in developing and producing top-shelf salmon products, he said.
The bill adds ice machines to the list of investments that qualify for the tax credit. Icing fish is a common practice in Southeast Alaska, used to preserve freshness and bring better prices for fishermen.
The tax program allows applicants to claim a credit on their annual fisheries business tax for 50 percent of the purchase costs of eligible equipment, with a cap at 50 percent of the applicant's tax liability.
Eligible equipment includes those used for curing and brining, fillet lines, skinning machines and vacuum packaging machines, among others.
HB 344 now heads to the Alaska State Senate for consideration.