Seaton, Ogg put on committees

Posted: Friday, September 19, 2003

Rep. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Rep. Dan Ogg, R-Kodiak, were named to the Joint Legislative Salmon Task Force as the task force worked to reorganize its committees over the weekend.

Seaton will co-chair the group's Governance Subcom-mittee along with Rep. Carl Morgan, R-Aniak, who also was named to the panel. Ogg will chair the Finance Subcommit-tee.

Seaton said Tuesday that becoming a member of the committee fits well with one of his other legislative duties, chairing the House Special Committee on Fisheries.

He said it is good to build "a working system where the industry and the Legislature can work together to develop some of the recommendations for legislation, instead of having legislation simply go in and then have the industry just make comments. This way, all of the users can be in on the formation of the legislation if we need to fix a problem."

As co-chair of the Gover-nance Subcommittee, Seaton said he will study the interaction between agencies and how laws apply to and affect different segments of the fishery.

In a Monday press release, the task force announced creation of a Hatchery Subcommittee that would examine issues surrounding statewide hatchery produced salmon. The task force also combined the Quality and Marketing subcommittees.

"The reason for the changes (is) we wanted to model the subcommittees to address the outstanding issues affecting the salmon industry," said Sen. Ben Stevens, R-Anchorage, task force chair.

The subcommittees will meet over the next several months and take public testimony while developing recommendations for the full task force that will meet again Dec. 7 and 8 in Anchorage.

The 22nd Alaska Legislature created the task force to address challenges to the Alaska salmon industry, charging it with evaluating the state's statutory framework governing the salmon industry, reviewing current industry practices and making recommendations for changes in law and regulation, as well as structural changes to improve the industry.

Since then it has held public meetings in almost a dozen communities and reviewed hundreds of proposals.

Several task force recommendations delivered in February were included in a strategic plan announced by Gov. Frank Murkowski earlier this year.

Other recommendations bec-ame law, including a measure that allows fishers to consolidate their catches, making for more efficiency in moving fish to market, and another that extended a tax credit to processors for purchase of machinery to stimulate value-added products in the fisheries, Seaton said.

The task force will continue its work through May of next year and then cease to exist, unless extended by the Legislature, Seaton said.

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