Community leaders from around the state of Alaska visited with legislators last week urging them to pass House Bill 199, “The Wild Salmon Legacy Act.”
The bill would update Alaska’s law governing the development of salmon habitats and would also encourage responsible salmon habitat development. Earlier that week, a separate group of community leaders provided testimony against Pebble Mine in a legislative hearing, citing the harmful impacts the mine would have on wild salmon.
The bill was introduced by Fisheries Committee Chair Rep. Louise Stutes (R – Kodiak) at the request of the Alaska Board of Fisheries.
The conversations with legislators highlighted an issue that has become one of the top priorities for Alaskans during this year’s legislative session.
“Wild salmon are everything to me, to my family and to my community,” said Thomas Tilden, First Chief of the Curyung Tribal Council.- in a press release. “We are not saying no development, what we want is development done responsibly. We are asking for an update to a 60-year-old law that has not been adjusted since statehood.”
Community leaders traveling to Juneau in favor of House Bill 199 included Tom Tilden from Nunamta Aulukestai in Dillingham; Tim and Mary Wonhola, New Stuyahok Elders; Mike Friccero, a Kodiak and Bristol Bay commercial fisherman; former State Senate President and backcountry guide Rick Halford from Chugiak and Aleknagik; and Jasmin Ieremia, a Petersburg teen advocate who commercial fishes with her family and other community leaders from Talkeetna, Anchorage, Sitka and Homer.
Tens of thousands of Alaskans from across the state have voiced support for improving salmon habitat protections, an issue that unifies all users – from urban anglers to rural subsistence communities to commercial fishermen.
About Stand for Salmon
Stand for Salmon is a diverse group of Alaska-based individuals, businesses, and organizations united in taking immediate steps to ensure that Alaska remains the nation’s salmon state for generations to come. Learn more at www.standforsalmon.org.