HB 80 would help boost funding for sport fisheries

House Bill 80, which passed the House 32-4, and is now under consideration by the Senate, would allow the Department of Fish and Game to resume collection of a surcharge on sportfishing licenses.

That would raise an estimated half a million dollars annually toward enhancement and maintenance of sportfishing facilities.

“Alaskans who enjoy and rely on sportfishing deserve credit for finding a solution to help protect salmon enhancement programs, an idea that found support across the political spectrum,” said Speaker of the House Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak.

Rep. Bart LeBon, R-Fairbanks, who carried HB 80 on the House floor, noted that the state’s world-class natural resources attract sportfish harvesters from around the state and globe. This bill will help ensure the future of maintenance needs at hatchery facilities around the state and promote habitat restoration, sport fisheries management and research and invasive species management, he said.

HB 80 addresses the critical need for legislative action so that salmon enhancement programs will continue in Southeast Alaska, with the primary goal of helping reverse the alarming trend of reduced Chinook salmon numbers, said Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan.