Alaska commercial fishing industry is getting boost with the approval of Gov. Sean Parnell’s budget for next fiscal year. The proposed fiscal year 2013 operating budget for the Department of Fish and Game, including all state and federal funds, is just more than $209 million, a 5.1 percent increase. According to Panell proposed budget will have a bond package that includes $10 million to help Seward prepare to homeport large at-sea processing boats owned by communities in the Kuskokwim region.
Commissioner Cora Campbell said that the proposed budget for Fish and Game will have harvest management as a top budget item for fisheries. The report highlighted Yukon River salmon fisheries as a management priority because of the continued low productivity of chinook. Managing Southcentral Chinook salmon fisheries is another priority of the budget.
The state Board of Fish has designated seven king salmon as “stocks of concern,” six of them in Northern Cook Inlet and one in Kodiak. The ADF&G budget report cites several fishery successes in the past year. Managers achieved a huge milestone in rebuilding Alaska snow crab stocks to sustainable levels within a federally mandated 10-year time frame, while still providing a viable harvest.