AYEA community leaders support HB 199

House Bill 199, a work in progress before the House Special Committee on Fisheries, has won the support of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action, a program of the Alaska Center Education Fund.

Twenty-six young community leaders from across the state were to deliver a letter to Juneau on March 9 in support of “The Wild Salmon Legacy Act introduced by Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, chair of the fisheries committee.

The bill would update state law governing development of salmon habitat, by establishing general fish and wildlife permits and major and minor anadromous fish habitat permits for specific activities, to protect fish and game and their habitats.

The letter, signed by over 200 teens from throughout Alaska, was to be delivered to Stutes during the annual AYEA salmon picnic outside the Capitol on March 9.

“Salmon brings my family together each year to harvest,” said Chiara Demientieff, 15, of Bethel and Galena. “Salmon brings food, and income through the tourism and fish camps. Almost everyone I know fishes. We depend on the salmon runs each year for food and jobs.”

“Strong wild salmon runs are the legacy passed down to us from our fathers and mothers and we intend to pass that on to our next generations and communities,” said Olivia Olson, 16, of Aleknagik.”  The Stutes bill, Olson added “is the clearest path for us to protect salmon and our Alaska Native culture into the future.”

More information on AYEA is online at www.akcentereducationfund.org/ayea