High costs of fishing in Alaska

Fisherman Jim Moore says it cost him $15,000 to get into fishing in Southeast Alaska in 1971. Today, he estimates, it would cost $150,000.

The high cost is making it difficult for new fishermen to break into the business, especially in rural coastal communities, a team of researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and SeaGrant scientists say they found, as reported on by KTOO Media, an Alaskan public radio station. Permits held by people who are local to their fishery have declined by 30%, according to their four-year study.

Courtney Carothers, the professor who led the study, calls it a paramount problem, the radio station reports. Because anyone can buy a permit, the process tends to benefit outside fishermen with more access to capital.

“Globally, we’re seeing these programs that have limited and commodified the right to fish have had really big impacts for certain groups of people: young people, low-income fishermen, rural communities, indigenous communities,” she’s quoted as saying.

Carothers suggested Alaska’s governor, Bill Walker, an independent, appoint a fisheries task force to work on the problem, but expressed skepticism that such an effort might take place.


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